Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has suggested that there are no guarantees to players of the high-flying Bulls and Stormers, despite the two South African outfits’ dominance in the Super 14.
The table-topping Bulls and Stormers are both already assured of places in the play-offs – the Bulls ensured of at least a top-two finish – and their showdown in Cape Town next week will most likely serve to determine who finishes first and who will be second.
While that would give the Springboks confidence, the step up to international level meant Super 14 form could not be used as a guide for the international season, De Villiers said in Wellington on Saturday.
“Winning is always positive, it’s just how are we going to put it together and maintain that kind of positive momentum,” he told NZPA.
De Villiers still rated New Zealand’s Super 14 sides, saying talent was more evenly spread around in New Zealand, whereas in South Africa the vast majority of international players played for either the Stormers or the Bulls
“If you look at the New Zealand sides, they are still some of the better sides in the competition, what happened is all the other sides actually caught up,” he said.
Speaking about the rule changes in this years Super 14 he said referees were “applying the law as it always should have been” and this resulted in a faster and more open game.
He disagreed that the new rules had taken Crusaders captain and flanker Richie McCaw out of the game at the breakdown, mauls, saying that he had a good game this morning against the Bulls, who won 40-35 at Pretoria.
“You can’t write off a guy like Richie, he’s a brilliant rugby player. I think he will come back to his best form this year.”
De Villiers was speaking at the Petone Recreation Ground in Wellington where he was joined by South African team management to check out the region’s facilities ahead of next year’s World Cup.
De Villiers said he was happy with the way World Cup preparations were going in New Zealand, saying “the World Cup can’t be in a better place”.
He said he was happy the Springboks would be based in Wellington for the World Cup.
“I think the people here are much friendlier than the people back home,” he told NZPA.
He hoped Wellingtonians would support the Springboks during the World Cup, at least when the All Blacks weren’t playing.
South Africa will play two of their pool games at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium as well as a quarterfinal if, as expected, they make it that far.
Article Courtesy of Rugby 365Tweet