Johannesburg - Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is clear that his team need to take a massive step up before they face the Wallabies in Perth in their next Castle Lager Rugby Championship game on September 6.
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The supersport.com website reports, the Bok captain arrived home from the great Salta escape – where the Boks needed a penalty four minutes from time to beat a plucky aggressive Argentinean team – knowing that the weight of public outrage at the result would be waiting for his team.
But De Villiers is a pragmatist, and as he points out: it wasn’t the greatest of performances, but a win is a win.
And while there is a lot for the Bok management to work on before they take on the Wallabies, and even more before they head to Wellington to face the All Blacks a week later, there isn’t all doom and gloom in the Bok camp, even though it may seem so for their fans.
“We’re not happy with our performance but definitely happy with the two wins,” De Villiers said on arriving back in Johannesburg.
“I think we all know that this is a very tough competition and if you keep on winning – if you are not firing on all cylinders, that is a positive result. We’ll take the two wins but still a lot of hard work that needs to be done before the next game.”
While De Villiers is still adamant that the Argentineans are a lot better side than their 12th place on the IRB Rankings portrays, he accepts that the pressure is on the team to show they can do better when they head to Perth. Argentina’s lowly log position comes mainly from the fact they play a B-team in the June internationals and only have their European based stars for the Rugby Championship, meaning their ranking has been in freefall for the last two years.
The ranking clearly isn’t something Los Pumas care too much for, and most rugby fans will agree that on the evidence of the last two weeks they would give most teams ahead of them on the rankings a massive fright, if not condemn them to defeat.
Still, for a team that constantly talks about concentrating on their own game, the Boks have a lot of work to do. They aren’t satisfied with how they played, something that De Villiers took every opportunity to underline.
“I think that’s a good thing (that the public expect more from us),” De Villiers admitted. “ if the supporters and public can put as much pressure on us as possible to achieve better and perform better, then I see that as a positive sign. I think once we are happy with mediocrity and just putting up an average performance then I think we are in trouble. We see it as a good thing and we know we didn’t play well. We need to up our game and we need to improve.”
The Bok captain said he did take note of the impressive All Black performance on Saturday in putting up a half century against the Wallabies in their demolition at Eden Park, but that for now, they are in the distance. First priority is the Perth game, and that is where the Boks need to focus their attention right now.
“They were impressive but we are only seeing them in three weeks time,” De Villiers said on the All Blacks.
“The focus for us right now is Australia and putting up a good performance against them, after that we’ll take on the next one.”
“At the end of the day we’re happy that we won two out of two and we’re top of the log at the moment in the Rugby Championship.
“But we are very realistic in the way we played and what lies ahead for us.
“There needs to be improvement and if we walk away with the trophy at the end of the tournament we need to improve and we need to put up better performances.”