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Matfield feeling extra support

Victor Matfield insists South Africa will have the support of New Zealand behind them when they meet Australia on Sunday.

The Tri-Nations rivals clash in the third quarter-final of the World Cup at Wellington Regional Stadium with the Wallabies rated marginal favourites.

"It feels like the New Zealanders will be cheering us," said Matfield. "It's the first time I've been walking around New Zealand and everyone is saying 'good luck' and 'I hope you do well'. I think we might be favourites. They seem to hate the Aussies more than they hate us!"

Australia have prevailed in five of the last six meetings between the Tri-Nations rivals and were the last team to inflict defeat on South Africa at the World Cup, winning their 2003 quarter-final.

However, Matfield insists previous encounters will prove meaningless when the tournament's second and third favourites collide.

"I truly believe everything that's in the past, is in the past. It doesn't count for anything going into tomorrow's game," said the second row.

"I think you can feel the pressure building up to the game. You could hear the streets last night. Everyone is coming in for the big games.

"It's all about handling that pressure, taking it into the game and using it to your advantage by getting energy from it."


From Belfast Telegraph