Lions in SA

Boks: We missed Bakkies

2009-07-06 07:48
Missed (File)
JJ Harmse

Johannesburg – Both Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and captain John Smit on Saturday said the team had missed Bakkies Botha in suffering their first Test defeat in seven matches.

De Villiers went on to deny that the 10 changes to the team from the second Test had been the reason for the defeat.

He emphasised that his decision to make the changes to the winning team from Loftus would bear fruit in the Tri-Nations, which begins in two weeks.

“How will we know if you don’t take chances?” asked De Villiers.

“I think we did the right thing; it is part of the planning for the road ahead. I am satisfied because I got more clarity regarding certain players. But that was not the reason why we lost. Our ball carriers played as individuals rather than a team and didn’t provide the momentum that we needed. The backline still contained good players and I remain excited about what they can do.”

But the loss of Botha was costly.

“Bakkies is the firepower in the team and we missed him,” said De Villiers.

Smit agreed with his coach.

“We will have to learn how to play without Bakkies and how to get the balance in the team right if he isn’t there. We were played off the ball at the contact area,” said Smit.

Botha’s first-choice replacement, Danie Rossouw, also missed the Test due to concussion and this further weakened the Boks' depth.

Nevertheless, the Boks still emerged victorious in the series.

“We are grateful to have won the series. It was our goal and we are glad that we were able to achieve it. It is something no one will be able to take away from the team,” said De Villiers.

De Villiers believed the defeat against the Lions put the Boks’ series win in perspective.

“The Lions have an excellent team and they played better rugby than us on the day. But we won the series,” De Villiers was quick to point out."

“The Lions had a greater intensity and definitely had more rhythm than us and therefore deserved their win. It makes the series win so much better as it shows how good this Lions team is,” added Smit.

Springbok skipper John Smit hands out a dose of "justice" to Lions prop Andrew Sheridan (Beeld)


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