Victorious South Africa captain Victor Matfield cited the absence of Paul O’Connell as a crucial factor in his team’s victory over Ireland yesterday.
The Irish pack were played off the pitch by the Springboks, none more so than in the lineout where the ability and leadership of O’Connell was sorely missed and Matfield, who picked up the Man of the Match award, agreed that the Munster lock was a huge loss. .
“We all know the class that Paul O’Connell has got,” he said.
“It definitely made it much easier for myself and he’s a star player. Anytime you lose a guy like that, it must be tough especially as he has been running the lineout … it was nice not seeing see him against me today.”
The Tri Nations teams completed a clean sweep of wins on Saturday, but Matfield is not getting carried away just yet and he expects a tough tour ahead for his side.
“It's great to hear that all three won, but I think we need to take it week by week. I think next week will be a different test against the Welsh,” he explained.
“They keep the ball in hand and I think it will be drier as well … it’s going to be a tough few weeks for all three southern hemisphere teams.”