Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The
Springboks will be looking to build some positive momentum from the outset when
they kick-off their Rugby World Cup campaign against Japan in Brighton, England
African captain Jean de Villiers said the focus going into the World Cup would
be to get the tournament off to a good start.
is important for us to get some momentum as soon as possible, and we need a
good performance against Japan, we need a win against them,” De Villiers said
ahead of the squad’s departure on Friday.
it is also about getting some momentum going into the competition and making sure
we feel comfortable in structures and hopefully individuals like myself who
might have lacked some game time will get some game time.”
team has come under severe criticism following a dismal Rugby Championship
campaign that consisted of defeats against Australia, New Zealand, and
sorts of critics stepped out of the woodwork with the team’s lack of racial
diversity coming under the spotlight, while others complain about players they
believe are long in the tooth.
Villiers said the team banded together despite the criticism they had to endure
in the build-up to the global showpiece.
vibe within the squad is fantastic, the last couple of weeks was tough from a
supporter’s point of view because there was a lot of negative energy that came
through but I think that was a small minority that created that,” De Villiers
“When you meet a supporter at the shopping centre and you see the vibe this last week
then you realise just how special it is to play for the Boks.
is at a stage where it is different and it feels as if the whole South Africa
is behind us and that just emphasises just how special it is to
represent your country and to do it at a World Cup.”
De Villiers said while the team was confident they had done enough in their preparations for
the World Cup, the proof of the pudding was in the tasting.
can say whatever you want about the preparations before 2007 and 2011 and now,”
that matters is what we go out and do, only then we will be able to say our
preparation was good enough or it wasn’t.
we’ve done before the tournament is important but we’ve got to go out and put
up good performances, because that’s what our jobs are.”
Northern Hemisphere has been a happy hunting ground for the Springboks since
Heyneke Meyer took charge in 2012, winning eight out 10 of their matches there.
the Boks usually go on their end-of-year tour during November in wetter
weather, De Villiers did not believe the improved conditions this time of the
year would change their approach at the World Cup.
doesn’t change our approach at all, whether we play in South Africa or overseas
it doesn’t change much either,” he said.
is all about the conditions on the day, the opposition and what we want to get
out of the game.
are happy to play any brand of rugby and it is just about executing what we
want to do, putting pressure on the opposition and getting points on the