Cape Town – An ungracious post-match television interview by
England captain Chris Robshaw slightly soured a thrilling Test contest edged
31-28 by South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.
Maybe the home side’s skipper was more generous at the
official written-press briefing later on, but in the immediate, obligatory
on-field grilling soon after the final whistle -- transmitted live to the
rugby-watching world -- Springbok counterpart Jean de Villiers handed a
poker-faced Robshaw another, more comprehensive beating.
In short, he was all over him from a public-relations
perspective ... if anything De Villiers was overly generous in his assessment
of how close the game had been, as even some of the more illustrious London
newspaper scribes felt in their match reports that the Boks ought to have
triumphed by more than the eventual margin of just three points.
Robshaw could not muster a word in specific praise for the
visitors, who have now won 11 and drawn one of the last 12 bilateral meetings.
Here are the transcriptions of virtually all of the
respective TV interviews; De Villiers went first:
Jean de Villiers
Interviewer’s opening question: “Jean, congratulations, does
that feel like a game you won twice?”
De Villiers: “(Smiling) Oh no, it was a very tough game,
that I can assure you. We were very pleased with the win. We made it tough for
ourselves but I’m going to say it again: this England team is a team on the up
and they could easily have beaten us today.
“We were on the lucky side (of the result) tonight but a lot
of credit must go to England for the way they played.
“We probably got points on the board at the right times. But
we left quite a lot out there and could also have conceded a couple (of points)
more, so definitely not the perfect game but once again credit to the
opposition; you can only play as well as they allow you to.
“We showed good composure to come back into it (after
England’s fightback) -- it was slipping away at one stage. That’s what you call
experience and you only gain experience by going through those situations. So
tonight was a bit of a learning experience for us again.”
Interviewer: “Why don’t you lose to England?”
De Villiers: “We get lucky! We were on a pretty bad run
before we started our run, you know. We lost a few games consecutively to
England at one stage ... it’s never easy to come here. It’s fantastic to come
here, to play rugby here. It’s never easy and I can assure you there’ll be sore
“I again want to thank the crowd for an unbelievable
atmosphere. This is a great place to play rugby.”
Interviewer: “You’re always welcome, thank you.”
Interviewer’s opening question: “Commiserations ... do you
concede the better side won today?”
Robshaw: “Uuh, aah ... I just think we were a little bit
reactive today. We allowed them to get ahead of us and then we were playing
catch-up, weren’t we? We got a few driving mauls going ... unfortunately we
allowed them to get some going too.
“It’s tough to take, especially at home, but we’ll have to
work hard before next week.”
Interviewer: “In hindsight, does that feel like a game that
got away from you in the first half, rather than the second?”
Robshaw: “Yeah, like I said we were always playing a bit of
catch-up today. We didn’t start as strongly as we’d have liked but it happens.
Credit to all the guys (England), we got ourselves back into the game but we
couldn’t quite finish it.
“We’re probably not doing ourselves justice in the way we
want to play ... we all know the way we train ... today and last week we
probably haven’t put it on the pitch the way we’d have liked.
“Whether it’s the opposition putting us under pressure or
ourselves, eventually ... it’s a huge thing for us to work on, to get our shape
going again. We’re upset today, we’ll lick our wounds and it’s a big week for
us to bounce back.”
Interviewer: “Thank you.”
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