Matfield expects tough game
South Africa captain Victor Matfield is hoping his international record against England will not come full circle this weekend.
Last Updated: 26/11/10 7:25pm
South Africa captain Victor Matfield is hoping his international record against England will not come full circle when the two sides meet at Twickenham on Saturday.
The lock's first three Tests against England - between 2001 and 2004 - all ended in defeat before the tide finally started to turn the Springboks' way in the run up to the last World Cup.
Having beaten a third-string England side during the summer of 2007, South Africa thrashed them 36-0 in the pool stages in France before winning again in the final.
Their most recent meeting came at Twickenham two years ago and ended in a 42-6 victory for the tourists - a record home defeat for Martin Johnson's men.
However, South Africa head into the weekend under pressure after losing to Scotland last weekend while England have shown clear signs of improvement in recent months.
Matfield said: "I have played for years against England and in the beginning we never won against them. I lost my first three games against them.
"We had a period around the World Cup when it went well but now it is tough again.
"They are playing a great style of rugby, they keep the ball in hand and although they get width on the game they also run very hard and they get forward momentum.
"It is very important for us to dominate the contact points and stop them from getting that momentum."
South Africa have made two changes from the defeat at Murrayfield, with Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar and number eight Pierre Spies returning to the side.
Meanwhile, England have reverted to the team that beat Australia 35-18 a fortnight ago.
Matfield added: "They have been playing very well in the last few games. You can go back to the win they had in Australia in the summer. Not many teams go there and win.
"They are definitely hitting form. Against Australia two weeks ago they were fantastic and it will be a tough game."