Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers acknowledged that his team owed South Africa “a big one” after their poor performances in Australia and New Zealand of late.
The World Champions had to give up their Vodacom Tri-Nations crown after the three losses and now will be desperate to right things when they get to the FNB Stadium next weekend for the home leg of the tournament.
De Villiers said the team had done the required soul-searching, and had made what he says are the “small adjustments” to rectify the form ahead of the Soweto showdown with the All Blacks.
“We know our supporters are very important to us,” De Villiers said, “They are our partners and we value that partnership. The past three weeks have been good for us to realise what went wrong and we know we owe our fans a big one.
De Villiers said an open discussion with the senior players led him to believe the team was being torn apart with two different styles of play, something that has now been rectified so that all players now are apparently, on the same page.
“The problems have been identified and we have made small adjustments. But what I really think went wrong was that we were caught up in two styles of play. In the past when the Sharks and Bulls dominated our team, they both had similar styles of play, but now that it is the Bulls and Stormers dominating things aren’t the same.
“We perhaps took it for granted that everyone was on the same place and never took the necessary time or had the necessary time to make sure everyone was on the same page. We’ve fixed that.” De Villiers dismissed any thought of “revenge” for the All Black losses.
“Revenge is a big thing, and it makes you bitter inside. We need to show character as a team and not look for revenge. We know what we are capable of and we know what we have to do to be the best in the world. We let ourselves down and we know we need to be the best again.
“Sometimes getting a rude wake-up call is precisely the right thing at the right time.”