Peter de Villiers has warned his charges that he will not tolerate complacency when the Springboks face lowly Italy in Saturday’s Test at Newlands.
News 24 reports that the Springbok coach said Italy, currently 11th on the IRB world rankings, have shown in the Six Nations that they can command respect, and that they are no longer a “small” rugby-playing country.
“If we select 15 players to pull the green-and-gold jersey over their heads and they don’t have the urgency to go out there and be the best for their country and then for themselves, then I have a problem with the players,” said De Villiers.
“If you are from Italy and you have this big chance to go play for your country and you do less than that, then we have a problem. I expect Italy to be on top of their game.
“They are not a small rugby-playing nation any more, and we acknowledge that they have grown a lot. We will treat them with respect.”
De Villiers his team won’t be influenced by the results of past matches between the two countries.
“The one good thing about this team is that they don’t live in the past,” De Villiers explained. “Test caps and statistics don’t play a big role in their lives. We all live for today.
Clear psychological blocks
De Villiers said Saturday’s Test will afford some players a chance to regain lost form. “Players have a chance to play their way back into form. Players want to be the best and many will push themselves really hard. It’s also a chance to clear the psychological blocks that some players have.”
He paid tribute to role of the senior players who were ensuring that the Springboks maintained a good work ethic.
“I must tell you that it’s something I did not realise. The senior players in this team are really professional people. Their work ethic is of a very high standard. No coach, and I don’t care who he is, can give that to a player. The value systems (of the senior players) is contagious and influences the work ethic of the other players.
“You will notice that there are players who will work on certain things on their own – to improve, after a training session. That’s great. That’s actually professional – not because they’re getting paid but that they get paid to do well.”Tweet