But, with the Boks ravaged by injuries to Gurthro Steenkamp, Smit and flankers Juan Smith and Pierre Spies, the All Blacks start as favourites for Matfield's big day.
"It's difficult when there are injuries, especially when guys pull out late like Juan and Pierre did," Matfield said.
"But, particularly in a World Cup year, it's important to have a strong squad and I'm sure the guys coming in will come to the party and deliver."
Graham Henry's side have lost to only one team in the past four years - and that was the Springboks on three occasions - and face their age old rivals again for the first real test of their season.
However, Henry believes the loss of Spies - and the introduction of former captain Bob Skinstad - will change the way the Boks attack, but not the way they plan to secure victory.
"Skinstad and Spies are different players physically aren't they?" the All Black coach said.
"Skinstad is more of a ball-runner than a carrier, so I think that might change things for them a bit.
"But I haven't really given the changes a great deal of thought to be frank. Loose forward is an area of huge strength in SA rugby, I watched Super 14 and was very impressed with the quality of loose forwards.
"They can play all sorts of different combinations and not lose potency. We expect them to take us on up front. More of the same. They always look to get physical domination and they will do so tomorrow, and that starts up front."
The Boks come into the match off wins over England, Samoa and Australia in their Tri-Nations opener last week, while the All Blacks have brushed aside France and Canada on the way to this game.
The clash could also go a long way to deciding the championship race in the tournament.