Rugby World Cup 2011

Boks not perfect, says Div

2011-09-23 07:36
Peter de Villiers (File)

Auckland - Coach Peter de Villiers has shrugged off South Africa's sloppy start and revelled in the defending champions' 12 tries in swamping Namibia at the Rugby World Cup.

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The outcome was never in doubt as the Springboks posted a record 87-0 victory over the largely amateur Namibians with wing Bryan Habana snaring his first Test try in 15 months to become South Africa's all-time leading tryscorer.

While the floodgates were flung opened in the final 20 minutes as Namibia's herculean defensive effort told and seven converted tries inflated the final margin, the Springboks were guilty of missed opportunities in the opening half.

While the game stats make painful reading for the Namibians, the one that stood out was South Africa's 16 handling errors to Namibia's 10, but that didn't concern De Villiers.

Asked if those mistakes could have been punished by a stronger team than 19th-ranked Namibia, De Villiers said:"You are talking about the perfect world, but we're not in a perfect world, we're in New Zealand.

"We actually know that we are playing against the best in the whole world. "We played a brilliant game once we regrouped. We are very proud of the guys, very, very proud. If we had played another team we would have done things differently maybe."

"You can't assume that another team will punish you, maybe we wouldn't have made those mistakes."

Skipper John Smit, who edged past team-mate Victor Matfield to his Springbok record 109th Test, admitted there were a few "question marks" in the first 30 minutes.

"But the boys tightened up and got back into it, so it's important to know that we will get different types of opposition, but each game is equally important.

"It's an easy task to get guys up for a World Cup game, but the difficult part to make sure that we analyse ourselves and be hard on ourselves with our individual stats and where we are heading as a team.

"There'll be bigger tests coming in the future but it was a step," he said.

De Villiers refused to single out Habana for his Springbok try record preferring to keep it within the team context.

"These things don't matter to the team," he said. "Before the World Cup, we said that there will be milestones for players and we will be happy.

"But if their goals don't fit into the team goals, we don't want them in this group. So if we get one or two guys reaching milestones along the way, we will rejoice with them afterwards."

Habana took his record in his stride as he looked ahead to the physically demanding game with Samoa at North Harbour next Friday.

"I think other people were more worried about it than I was," the former IRB World Player of the Year said. "I've said it my whole career, it's always been about the Springbok team.

"It's never been about the number of tries I've been able to score, it's about contributing, and I'm disappointed that I haven't been able to contribute for the last couple of Tests.

"Hopefully, now everyone can stop worrying about it and I can concentrate on playing rugby.

"It's been great, a great honour and privilege to break records and pass someone like Joost. Hopefully, I can keep using my God-given talent to contribute to Springbok rugby."

It was Habana's 39th try in 72 matches and he had gone 11 Tests without scoring before finally claiming Joost van der Westhuizen's previous record of 38 tries in 89 Tests.

Habana's last try was against Italy at Witbank in June last year.

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