Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Birmingham - Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers, has dismissed reports about senior players ignoring instructions given to them by coach, Heyneke Meyer, in the shock 34-32 loss against Japan last week, as speculation.
“A lot of speculation comes with a loss like that and I suppose a lot people will want to find fault with the way that we do things. They will try to break the team and upset the team even more. For us as a group it’s about sticking together and not pointing fingers at all,” he said.
The 34-year-old says Meyer is backing him and he needs to perform and show that he deserves the opportunity.
“There is one boss and that is the coach and we need to do what is expected of us. Sometimes there will be calls that gets passed on and sometimes I have the freedom to make whatever calls I think is best for the team. However, it’s all about finding that synergy in making sure that we leave no stone unturned. We united in what we want to do and I think it’s the only way we can rectify it against Samoa,” he explained.
The Boks will be in a crucial must win situation when they face Samoa here at Villa Park in a Group B World Cup fixture on Saturday.
The Bok captain says from a rugby point of view it has been the worse week of his life and they need to set the record straight against Samoa.
“No, it hasn’t been the worse week because no-one has died, but rugby wise it has been tough,” he said sarcastically.
“It took some time to take in what happened on the weekend. It obviously was a big shock, but I think nothing must be taken way from Japan. They have improved immeasurably and certainly showed their intent in that game.
“From our point of view it has been tough. In the sporting world you always want to win and play that perfect game. It’s those challenges that make sport so interesting because you never know what can happen.
“We certainly didn’t display the pride that we have in the jersey. It was extremely disappointing to say the least. Life throws curve balls at you, but I think we have to keep perspective as well. We need to take the defeat on the chin and rectify things against Samoa tomorrow,” he added.
Saturday's clash at Villa Park is scheduled for 17:45 (SA time).
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jesse Kriel
15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Ray Lee-Lo, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Mike Stanley, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Ofisa Treviranus (captain), 7 Jack Lam, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Iosefa Tekori, 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Sakaria Taulafo
Substitutes: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Vavae Tuilagi, 21 Vavao Afemai, 22 Tusi Pisi, 23 George Pisi