Cape Town – The Springboks will ensure complacency is absent
when they tackle Argentina in their first Castle Rugby Championship match at
Newlands next weekend, captain Jean de Villiers assured on Wednesday.
The Pumas presently lie eighth on the International Rugby
Board rankings, with all three of the former Tri-Nations teams occupying the
top three slots -- De Villiers was asked by Sport24 at a Bellville media
briefing whether there was a threat of a sub-standard mindset, given that many
pundits might regard this home outing as the Boks’ easiest fixture of the six
in the revamped competition.
“That’s definitely a trap we won’t fall into,” he said.
“I think we’ve viewed these two games (the immediate,
back-to-back ones against Argentina) as maybe the most important within the
“They will obviously be psyched up for their introduction
into the event; they’ll give it everything.
“For us, we need to build on what we achieved in the England
series. I think we disappointed ourselves a bit in the (drawn) last game – we
need to get back to the standard of the first 30 minutes in that second Test
(at Coca-Cola Park), and the counter-attacking of the first Test.
“If we can put all those positives into one set of 80
minutes ... we’re hoping for a good performance here and then we can just build
it week after week. We’re definitely not looking past (Argentina) yet, though.”
De Villiers said the Pumas brought “something special” to
“The history of South Africa versus Argentina is pretty good
as well; they respect us and we respect them – we’re also starting at Newlands,
a ground with a lot of tradition of its own. It makes for a great game next
“The Argentineans have some fantastic players; they’ve got
great skill and big forwards, similar to South Africa.”
Seated alongside team-mate Bismarck du Plessis, De Villiers
was asked whether he had got over the disappointment of the Stormers’
semi-final exit from Super Rugby, at the hands of the powerful hooker’s Sharks
outfit, who then surrendered the final to the Chiefs.
“I think we’ve all forgotten about those matches now. I’m
used to sitting here (at the WP High Performance Centre) but normally there’s a
much smaller guy on my left-hand side! (Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.)
“Yes, it’s great to be back with the Boks. It’s always such
an honour and privilege. When you come off (Super Rugby) defeat, as happened to
us two weeks ago and the Sharks more recently, it’s nice to be back among a
group who are positive and will lift you up, put you in a good mood.
“It’s a bunch who enjoy each others’ company. Everyone in
the squad has been through disappointment at some stage in the season.”
De Villiers also defended under-fire flyhalf Morne Steyn,
whose Bok form has come under harsh scrutiny.
“I disagree (with the suggestion he is out of form). I think
his general play against England was actually very good.
“What let him down a bit was just his kicking at goal. You
know, we’re so used to him kicking at 90 percent and above, and he missed a
couple that we’re not used to, so that counted against him.
“But I thought his decision-making on attack was good;
probably the two tries we scored in the first game were due to him setting up
the counter-attacks, taking the ball wide and varying his game.
“I think he’s in a good place mentally ... he’ll be back.
He’s a quality guy. I’m not too concerned at all.”
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