‘Boks to pressure the referee’

Wallabies forwards coach Andrew Blades says he expects Victor Matfield to put 'loads of pressure' on referee Nigel Owens at lineout time on Saturday.

The buildup to the Newlands Test has been dominated with talks of set-piece trickery, with the Springboks making mention of the Wallabies gamesmanship at the scrums. The Australians have responded in turn, with Matfield's 'management' of the referee coming under close scrutiny.

'Victor is very good at manipulating that situation and trying to create something in the back of people's heads,' said Blades.

'You even watch it in-game when he plays for the Bulls: if someone stops their drive he's straight across to the referee's assistant to give him his thoughts, and often at the next lineout there's a penalty when nothing's happening.

'That's just the value of experience. He is a great lineout exponent, probably one of the best ever, and that's why he is able to control the way the game is played around the lineout.'

Matfield came under criticism from former Springbok coach Nick Mallett earlier this year for the manner of his interactions with referee Craig Joubert during the Bulls defeat to the Stormers at Newlands.

The Boks were unable to get their driving maul functioning at optimum level during the Australasian leg of their tour, although Blades has refuted any assertion of illegality on their part.

'It wasn't like we were doing anything illegal so we're happy with that as one of the tactics we take in,' he said.

'But we also understand that the pressure we put on, there'll probably be a penalty against us.'

Australia have not won a Test at Newlands in 22 years, a run of six consecutive defeats. Should the Wallabies manage to upset the record books, they will usurp the Springboks as the No 2-ranked team in the world.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images