Matfield outsmarts O’Connell

Victor Matfield showed composure in the face of strong Irish pressure to come out on top of his personal duel, writes BRENTON CHELIN.

It was Matfield's lineout take that led to the Springboks' first try, scored by Marcell Coetzee from the back of a rolling maul. It was his eighth lineout take, and he would go on to make one more in an imperious performance.

His tactical nous gave the Boks the ascendancy in a vital area of the game, although the Boks were unable to capitalise on their set-piece dominance.

O'Connell, the scourge of the Boks in 2009, failed to impose himself on the lineout, but his work in defence cannot be understated. He made 11 tackles, missing just one as the Irish put in an almighty shift on defence.

In the end, it was Matfield's intelligent performance in the set piece that decided the outcome of this one, but unfortunately for the Boks, those around him failed to rise to the occasion.

Photos: Marty Melville/Xavier Laine/AFP Photo/Getty Images