Boks in UK

Jean: Failure not an option

2013-11-22 20:48
Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Paris - South Africa captain Jean de Villiers says the Springboks must beat France in Paris on Saturday night or face six months of misery.

Following the clash at the Stade de France, the world's number two team will not play again until next year's June internationals and De Villiers says defeat would leave them feeling frustrated for half a year until they get another chance to taste victory.

And although it is the last match the Springboks will play this year, having won nine out of the 11 they've played so far, De Villiers says this is not being seen as the culmination of anything.

"I don't think we're seeing it as that, we're seeing it as the next game to form part of the progression of the team and to improve as a team," he said.

"It's definitely not the end for us, it's the beginning of the rest of the journey.

"The fact that it's the last game we'll play this year gives us the opportunity to really just leave everything out there, to put up a performance that can make us have good holidays in December.

"The last thing you want is to play a bad match and then dwell on that for the next six months until the next test match, so we want to play a good match."

Quite apart from the challenge the French team are expected to pose to the Springboks, De Villiers says playing in near freezing temperatures on Saturday night will in itself be a test.

Plus there is the aspect of not playing France particularly often -- they have only met three times since 2005.

"We don't play them often and we haven't won here for a very long time, that's the reality and something we'd like to test ourselves against," added the captain.

"It's different conditions, a different time of day we're playing and a different team, so it's a nice test for the boys."

South Africa won comfortably 42-17 in Cape Town the last time the side's met but before that they had lost three in a row and Les Bleus have actually claimed victory in five of the last eight meetings -- although in the overall record South Africa lead 21-11 with six draws.

South Africa have not won in France since a crushing 52-10 success at the Parc des Princes in 1997, and it is the desire to put that statistic to bed that is getting the current crop fired up.

Yet dwelling on defeats is not part of the pep talk.

"That's not the route we'll be going from a motivation point of view, we'll either be talking about the victory we could achieve (or) how great it would be to beat the French in France for first time in 16 years," said De Villiers.

"It was a great game 16 years ago when South Africa did beat them and we're looking to put up a good performance tomorrow as well."

Whatever the outcome, South Africa are bracing themselves for a bruising encounter.

"It will be physical, I didn't play the last game we played in France in Toulouse (a 26-13 defeat) and also the last time we played them in South Africa I played off the bench.

"The French will challenge you in different ways, being physical will be one of those. Set phases will be important for us, they'll put pressure on the team there.

"The physical battle is always important for us as a Springbok team, we want to get dominance and it will be a good test for the boys."



15 Brice Dulin, 14 Sofiane Guitoune, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Remi Tales, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Yannick Forestier.

Substitutes: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud

South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux: 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Siya Kolisi 22 Jano Vermaak, 23 Patrick Lambie

Read more on:    springboks  |  rugby

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