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Ireland v South Africa: We’ll silence the critics, says Matfield

Victor Matfield yesterday warned Ireland that South Africa have drawn inspiration from being written off for today's clash at the Aviva Stadium.

The Springboks limped into Dublin for the opening stage of their grand slam tour with 13 players missing because of injury.

They finished bottom of the Tri-Nations with just one victory in six matches, leading to the consensus that a near-full strength Ireland should complete a fourth consecutive triumph in the fixture.

But Matfield, who is leading the side in the injury-enforced absence of John Smit, has revealed that South Africa will feed off the limited expectations surrounding them.

“We haven't won in Dublin for 10 years but the only thing we are worried about is how Ireland play and the way we play,” said the second row and Test centurion.

“We need to get a result. We had a little chat this morning about believing in ourselves.

“There aren't a lot of people giving us a chance in this game and hopefully that will motivate the guys. This may not be the most experienced side but we still think we've got a lot of talent.

“The important thing for us is not to worry about who are favourites or underdogs.

“We've got a job at hand and that's what we are focusing on now. It doesn't matter if we are underdogs or favourites, we know we are pulling on a Springbok jersey and we've got a job to do.”

Adding to South Africa's baggage is that six of their starting line-up played in last weekend's Currie Cup final between Natal Sharks and Western Province.

“It's tough, especially for the guys that played in the final,” said Matfield. “Some still want to celebrate while some of them are a bit down. But the moment you put on that Springbok jersey you need to be 100 per cent focused.

“I believe the guys will be ready. We had a good three days in South Africa training very hard.”

Matfield is delighted that former Munster centre Jean de Villiers has been passed fit.

“Jean's pulled through, he will be ready. It's great because he's our leader in the backline,” Matfield said.

Belfast Telegraph