Many people won’t agree after last Saturday’s events but Springbok coach Peter de Villiers feels there is nothing much wrong with the South African rugby team.
Liam Del Carme writes in Beeld that De Villiers says his team’s inability to hold their own in contact situations is the only worrying weakness.
“We were not accurate in contact. That’s our only problem,” De Villiers said here on Monday, looking back to South Africa’s 0-19 defeat against New Zealand last Saturday.
The South Africans play Australia in their next Tri-Nations match here this week and the team had worked to rectify the problem, the coach said on Monday.
“I hope the players will execute it correctly against the Wallabies.”
The Springboks are under pressure because a third consecutive defeat in the competition will be another blow to their reputation as World Cup champions.
De Villiers believes the gods were not kind to his team at Newlands. “We know we’re going to lose some matches but what irks is the way you lose. The players know when they have to produce.
“We controlled the (Newlands) match but we just did not do those extra things. Lady Luck passed us between the hotel and the ground.”
De Villiers expects more from the player who normally provides the authority at breakdown points.
Schalk did not go in head first
“There is one thing we have to look at. Schalk Burger has recovered from a serious neck injury and I think he was a little cautious about making contact head first, the way he usually does.
“He is such a good player that one must allow him a week to build confidence. That is what we’re doing,” the coach explained.
Another problem at breakdown points is the way the Springboks find ways to be penalised.
De Villiers believes Australian Matt Goddard was inconsistent in South Africa’s two Tri-Nations Tests that he handled this season.
“It was the same referee with different interpretations of the laws in two different Test matches,” he said.
“We no longer have the luxury to speak to the referee before matches.
“I don’t know how to put it in a better way but it’s an unjust battle on the ground. It seems we have to play illegally to become legal.”
Questions about the captaincy of Victor Matfield have also surfaced since last week but De Villiers was not getting too deeply into that debate.
He was unwilling to respond to questions whether the Springboks were missing John Smit’s leadership. “Anyone can hold that opinion. We’ll only know if he plays.
“I can’t comment on it now. The player who is there (in Smit’s position) has my support.
“They are different characters. They have different things in which they are good.”Tweet