Jean downplays Goosen role
Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has played down expectations that the Boks may try a run-at-all-costs approach when they face Australia at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
De Villiers acknowledged that the introduction of rookie flyhalf Johan Goosen was likely to see the Boks adopt a more expansive approach, but anyone who assumes the team will go all out to run every ball would be mistaken.
The Boks would continue with their game plan to use their opportunities, and kick when necessary and attack when they had space, the captain proclaimed.
“Someone once said in a movie that assumption is the mother of all mess-ups. I think Johan brings a lot of youth and enthusiasm to the game but for us as a team nothing changes from a game plan point of view,” De Villiers told reporters on Friday.
“If there is opportunity to take the ball wide and take it into space, we will do that. That has always been the case with this team since the beginning of the year. I’m very excited about him (Goosen) playing and he is as well, so I’m sure it will be a great day for him.”
De Villiers added he believed he would hopefully add a bit of experience to the two youngsters – now that Jaco Taute will also make his debut at 13 because of the ankle injury to Frans Steyn.
“If it happens that I'm stuck in the middle of those two, hopefully they can bring the best out of me," De Villiers said.
"It is a great prospect to be able to play with those two youthful players and one I am looking forward to.
"Hopefully we can get the best out of each other and hopefully I can rub off on them and give them some calmness."
Both teams will be aiming for milestones, with the Boks looking to break a five game losing streak to the Aussies, while their opponents will want to break their duck at Loftus. The Australians have never won at Loftus in five encounters since 1933.
"When you play abroad, you are sort of driven by the fact that you want to break those records and get victories where you didn't get victories in the past, and they'll be out to do the same," De Villiers said.
"We believe that the forwards selected in the previous two games really stood up and probably from a backline point of view we need to catch up with them," he said.
The Boks will be weary of the Wallabies, who may have been galvanized by the ongoing drama surrounding their former flyhalf Quade Cooper this week and his comments about an apparent “toxic” atmosphere in the camp.