Former Springbok captain Victor Matfield has warned South Africa not to underestimate Australia in their Rugby Championship Test in Perth on Saturday.
“It’s not going to be easy, the Wallabies are probably still favourites playing in Australia, they’re a great team and they almost beat the All Blacks in New Zealand in their last game. The Springboks are a great team as well, but it’s not going to come easy for them,” Matfield said at the launch of the Rugby Centurions, a new initiative that honours those icons who have played 100 Tests.
Matfield, who played his 100th Test in a 44-31 win over the Wallabies at his beloved Loftus Versfeld in 2010, added, however, that the current environment in the Springbok camp is so good that they could well win on Saturday and it is going to lead to greater success in the future.
“This team now has got great character and culture and that’s what wins trophies. It looks like they’ve got the belief as well and everyone is pulling in the same direction,” Matfield said.
Matfield and John Smit, who is one of the inaugural trustees of the Rugby Centurions, are joined by fellow South Africans Percy Montgomery, Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers in the 53-strong club that includes five women’s internationals.
Tendai Mtawarira, who will play his 93rd Test on Saturday, is likely to be the next Springbok to join them in what has been branded “The toughest membership in the world”, and Matfield paid tribute to the veteran prop.
“Beast has been fantastic to so many people and for the Springboks, and to think it all started as a 19-year-old riding his bicycle to training, it just shows what hard work can do. I know they’ve only played against Argentina, but the scrum has been going very well and they’re really backing each other,” Matfield said.
Kickoff is at 12.05.