Div: There are tour positives
London – Springbok coach Peter de Villiers believes his side can take several positives from their tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland, including that South Africa remains a dominant force in world rugby when the mood grabs them.
South Africa still has to play the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday, but the tour will be judged on what transpired in the Tests. While the Boks blew a great opportunity for a Grand Slam by losing to Scotland, they finished a difficult season on a high by beating England 21-11 at Twickenham.
South Africa also beat Ireland and Wales earlier on the tour.
“The success of the tour lies in what isn’t immediately obvious. Results are the temporary successes or failures. The first thing is that we have removed all doubt and believe in one another,” said de Villiers.
“The second thing is that no-one can live with us when we are motivated to go out there and do our jobs. I don’t care who the team is. If we are motivated for the job at hand, we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
De Villiers believes the Springboks re-established a blueprint against England that has served South African rugby well for decades.
The Boks’ win on Saturday was based on a direct approach and physical dominance of England. Willem Alberts and Lwazi Mvovo finished for their tries only after the English had been softened up by the Bok forwards.
“I think we played a style of rugby alien to South African rugby in the Tri-Nations. We should not move away from our traditions,” said de Villiers.
“People do not want us to play like South Africans because they fear us. That is perhaps one of the biggest lessons we have learned.”
De Villiers conceded that there is room for improvement in the execution of the Boks’ attacking plays. South Africa blew a number of scoring opportunities with knock-ons and poor passes.
“It’s true that we don’t back ourselves enough. We did not play differently from the way we did against Ireland, Wales and Scotland. However, there was purpose in the way we took the ball up and defended against England,” said de Villiers.
“That is why I’m excited about the World Cup.”
De Villiers believes that the Boks would have to revisit their psychological approach and not prepare for specific opponents. He believes that is standing in the Boks’ way of reaching their potential.
“The one thing the All Blacks have got right is to pile up the points against teams that are not that strong. We prepare in our minds for a specific team and don’t give them a proper hiding,” he said.
“It’s the South African mindset – just to want to do what is necessary to win.”
New Zealand again set the pace on their Northern hemisphere tour as they secured a Grand Slam with the weekend’s win over Wales.
Australia, who were upset by England, also had a great weekend as they thumped France 59-16.