Boks in UK

Jean: It's Wales, not Lions

2013-11-08 22:28
Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Cardiff - Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has played down the presence of 11 successful British and Irish Lions in the Wales team ahead of a one-off international on Saturday.

VIDEO: Sport24 chats Wales v Boks

Wales players, with the Principality's coach Warren Gatland also at the helm, formed the backbone of the Lions team that notched up a thrilling 2-1 series win over Australia in the summer.

But De Villiers, who will be joined in midfield by the returning veteran Jaque Fourie, stressed: "We're not playing the Lions, we're playing Wales. It's a big difference.

"You can take a lot out of the Lions series but at the end of the day it's not the same team. There are players who played in that team, but there are also crucial players who played for the Lions side that are not in the Welsh side.

"In saying that, we believe the Welsh team is a quality side and that they'll be up for this game."

Wales have racked up just one victory over South Africa - in 1999, in 26 internationals stretching back 107 years, but De Villiers said that counted for nothing.

"To get a successful tour, we need to start well and play well against Wales. Your first game is always your toughest game and after that your second game is your toughest game," said the 32-year-old who made his Springbok debut in 2002.

"It's the next one that counts and for us now it's Wales. They're pretty confident. They're riding pretty high after the Lions series and it'll be a tough battle."

But De Villiers insisted that his team were well prepared, arriving for their autumn internationals after finishing a highly creditable second behind world champions New Zealand in the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship.

"This team has come a long way in the last couple of months. I think we've improved drastically in certain areas, and hopefully we can take that into this game," he said.

"Obviously, we didn't end the Championship on a high with a loss (against New Zealand), but there were a lot of positives to be taken out of that game.

"We need to deliver on the field for 80 minutes.

"It's definitely just job in hand for us, knowing what's lying ahead and knowing it'll be a fierce battle and knowing we'll be up against a quality side. But we do know what we're capable of and we're well prepared."

De Villiers also hinted that the South Africans might alter their attacking gameplan under the closed roof of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in the face of the home side's defensive strategy.

"It is a different challenge that we are facing tomorrow with the rush defence," he acknowledged.

"They do do it quite effectively and they're good at it so we need to change our attack a little bit, but hopefully we can exploit that rush defence and use it to our favour."



15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Ashley Beck

South Africa:

15 Patrick Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 JJ Engelbrecht, 23 Willie le Roux

Read more on:    springboks  |  boks on tour  |  jean de villiers  |  rugby

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