Jake White's side head to France as second favourites to lift the title and add to the one they won as hosts of the event in 1995.
The Springboks, England's major obstacle in their pool, are generally regarded as one of the few sides capable of challenging the imperious All Blacks.
Their pack is typically abrasive, led by the world-class second-row pairing of Matfield and Bakkies Botha and augmented by all-action flanker Schalk Burger.
Behind the scrum, Fourie du Preez is a fine scrum-half, with an exceptional deputy in youngster Ruan Pienaar, and Percy Montgomery continues to enjoy an Indian summer at full-back.
The Springboks' greatest threat, though, is provided by powerful winger Bryan Habana, who notched his 22nd try in his 28th Test in the 27-3 victory over Scotland in the Bank of Scotland Corporate August Test.
Habana scored the first of South Africa's three tries in quick succession - Jaque Fourie and du Preez with the others - as the Tri-Nations giants swept aside the challenge from Frank Hadden's side.
It was the 10th warm-up game before the World Cup for the Springboks and Matfield, leading the side in the absence of injured captain John Smit, believes they head across the Channel in terrific shape.
Four years ago South Africa were in relative disarray with an inexperienced squad which a year after the tournament had slumped to sixth in the world rankings.
Just as this year, they were drawn in the same pool as England and, having been defeated by the eventual champions, they were left to face New Zealand in the pick of the quarter-finals.
The Springboks tackled manfully but, inspired by hooker Keven Mealamu, the All Blacks proved too mobile and athletic and South Africa's tournament ended in the last eight.
Matfield was part of that squad and is perfectly placed to compare the relative strengths of this South Africa World Cup squad with the last.
The Bulls forward said: "It's difficult to say if we are in better shape than the last World Cup because it is two separate teams you're talking about.
"I think four years ago, apart from Joost (van der Westhuizen) there was hardly any experience in the squad.
"This is a totally different team. We know each other very well having been together for the past four years so it's a whole new mindset going into the mindset this time around.
"I believe we can go all the way. As our coach has said we know World Cups are won by great defence and against Scotland we didn't concede any tries even though it was away from home.
"I also think we scored some nice tries which is very important as well. We knew it was going to be a hard and physical battle out there. It was a real Test match and the boys came through nicely.
"To win by such a good margin away from home is something to be pleased about. We feel good and the more matches we play throughout the World Cup will see our conditioning get even better. We're happy with where we are."