Pretoria - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers had a simple statement for all those critical of the national team even though they had won this weekend: Either you’re for us or you’re against us.
De Villiers said he believed the victory over Australia, which stopped a four game losing streak had achieved a lot more than was given credit for, saying it was an important step forward in the quest to retain the William Webb Ellis trophy in New Zealand next year.
But according to De Villiers, the team has had enough of those who purport to support the team, but because they dislike individual coaches or players, are happy when the side loses.
“The team has closed the laager. We don’t care about what people say on the outside, it doesn’t hurt us anymore,” De Villiers said.
“We don’t want to know about them because they aren’t interested in good news. We’ve decided those that aren’t for us, are against us. But the person we play for is the guy who is truly happy alongside you when the moment is great.”
De Villiers said he believed his side had achieved a lot with the victory over Australia, even though they let in three tries in the opening 14 minutes.
“We’ve definitely achieved a lot. Many people look at the moment, but we look at the structures we have and the impact we made with the world cup in mind. If you remember what happened the week before and you add that to this past weekend then there is a good platform for the guys to work on,” De Villiers said.
“Every brick that we lay in this foundation now needs to be the right one for the World Cup. This is our biggest concern now – how do we handle the players psychologically, physically and how their own situations are managed.
“If you go look at some of the situations in the country – like what happened with Bees Roux this past week. How will this impact upon them?
How do we ensure that we learn out of situations like this to see that nothing stands in our way on the way to the World Cup.”
De Villiers also hinted that there would be few players rested this weekend even though his own medical team have said that certain players had overplayed this season.