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Matfield says O'Connell is the best he's ever played

Springbok legend Victor Matfield (pictured) has named Irish captain Paul O'Connell "as probably the best player I have played against in my career".

This highest praise comes four days before the two great men will meet for what could be the final time in their long and illustrious careers.

"He is a fantastic player. He is also a student of the lineout," Matfield said at a press conference today.

"You can see how he puts in a lot of hours analysing and preparing, getting his whole unit ready for the weekend. It is always tough going up against him."

This is a two-way relationship as O'Connell has spoken of the admiration he has for the South African lineout technician.