South Africa v Wales: Victor Matfield not focused on milestone

Victor Matfield and Matthew Morgan
Victor Matfield is set to overtake John Smit as South Africa's most capped Test player.

South Africa's Victor Matfield says setting the record for most Test caps comes second to the team performance against Wales on Saturday.

The lock is set to become the most capped Test player for South Africa in the second Test in Nelspruit.

Although describing the milestone as "great" the 37-year-old said building on the first Test win is the priority.

"It's all about the team. I think what's important for us is that we're even better than last week," he said.

Matfield will pass former captain John Smit's record as the most capped Springbok when he takes the field for his 112th test on Saturday.

He made his Springboks debut against Italy in June 2001 and was part of the team which won the 2007 World Cup before retiring following the 2011 tournament.

But Matfield made his comeback at the beginning of the year, signing a two-year contract with the Bulls and was recalled by South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer for the June Tests against Wales and Scotland.

"I said to Victor that his comeback mustn't be about records or anything like that," Meyer said.

"I wanted him to help out by coming off the bench, and now he is playing 80 minutes and is captain. I am very proud of what he has achieved.

"It is remarkable that he can come back so well after two years in retirement. It is a storybook ending for him, although hopefully it isn't the end because I expect a lot more from him.''

South Africa have made two changes to the team that beat Wales 38-16 in last Saturday's first Test in Durban.

Tendai Mtawarira returns at loose-head prop while Flip van der Merwe will partner Matfield in the second row in place of Bakkies Botha.

"What's important for us is that we're even better than last week. I think it was a great start for us but there was still a lot of mistakes in there that we want to get right this week," Matfield added.

"We had a look at the game, went through all the mistakes and that's what it was - we just made too many mistakes that gave away momentum in the game, that gave them chances in our half."

South Africa: Willie le Roux; Cornal Hendricks, JP Pietersen, Jan Serfontein, Bryan Habana;Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Flip van der Merwe, Victor Matfield (capt), Francois Louw, Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Schalk Brits, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Schalk Burger, Ruan Pienaar, Wynand Olivier, Lwazi Mvovo.

Wales: Liam Williams (Scarlets), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), George North (Northampton Saints), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Alun Wyn Jones (Capt) (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Matthew Rees (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Dan Baker (Ospreys), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), James Hook (Perpignan), Matthew Morgan (Ospreys).

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