Minor lift needed to avoid another train wreck - Matfield

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NZPA     16 Jul 2010     Getty Images

With his team criticised from pillar to post this week, Matfield emerged from the ego-bruised South African bunker today to warn of a much-improved performance in the second test on Saturday, one where they would seek to "strangle" the fluent New Zealand style.

The 32-12 loss at Eden Park was a prime example of what happens at the top level when one team is mentally tuned in while the other can't quite find the dial.

"They did a lot of things right but I must say, we also weren't there 100 percent," Matfield said today of his world champions.

"We were probably about 97 (percent) and we know in these games if you're one or two percent off your game, you will get smashed. And that's what happened.

"Hopefully we can be there 100 percent this week and then hopefully it will be a better test match."

South Africa's misfiring lineout best encapsulated their game. Usually a strength, they failed to contest as strongly as usual while Matfield and hooker John Smit -- who share 195 tests between them -- weren't on the same wavelength for once.

"Contesting-wise, we were too slow to get to the lineout. We weren't organised quick enough. They took a lot of quick lineouts, which we knew they would do, and they got away with it," Matfield said.

"Hopefully this week we'll be there earlier, better prepared and we'll get in there."

Matfield strongly indicated there would be no change from the forward-based kicking game which took them to great heights last year but which failed to impose itself on the All Blacks in Auckland.

"We all know how we play, we won't go away from that," he said.

"We're a team that likes to put pressure on the other team, to really strangle them.

"Because we weren't there and we weren't quick enough off our line, we couldn't do that. We gave them space and time and they penalised us for that."

Meanwhile, Matfield's locking partner on Saturday is not yet confirmed.

Medical staff are still assessing the calf strain suffered in training by Danie Rossouw, who has replaced the suspended Bakkies Botha.

Stormers giant Andries Bekker would be promoted to start if Rossouw is ruled out while young Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe, who joined the tourists today from South Africa, would be on the bench.

"I've played against Andries and it's pretty tough so if he comes in it will be good for us in the lineouts," Matfield said.

"(But) I've also played the whole Super 14 with Danie and we've got a very good relationship. We understand each other in the lineouts."