fast little loans
Jean de Villiers says the Springboks will be a far more cohesive unit on Saturday as opposed to a week ago when they tackle England in the second match of the three-Test series at Coca-Cola Park.
The Boks go into the match 1-0 up in the series having won in Durban seven days ago, with one game to come next weekend in Port Elizabeth.
Having had just five days together last week to prepare for the first Test, the Boks appeared a little rusty at times in Durban, yet they were still good enough to start the Heyneke Meyer-era with a solid 22-17 win.
Captain De Villiers said on Friday his side had settled down nicely after a “nervous” first week. “There were plenty of butterflies last week ... we had a new coach and there were new players and having looked at the video of the first Test, we realise we weren’t great (in Durban).
“We were just happy to get away with the win last week ... but now there’s a lot we want to improve on going into this game ... the rucks, our attack and even in the set-pieces. We want to take an upwards step as a team and if we do that we’ll get the right result.”
De Villiers added the extra week to prepare had made a big difference in training and he is hopeful it will also be the case on the field on Saturday.
“Everything has happened more naturally this week ... the calls have just come and the guys haven’t really had to think too hard. With new players coming in and new calls and moves being worked on, these things will inevitably take a while to get used to. Everything this week has been more instinctive and when that happens, it’s much easier to play. What do they say, a week in rugby is a long time.
“The thing is last week we were a group of fantastic individuals and we weren’t a team yet, but we’re much closer to it now. Every day we’re together the closer we’re getting to be a team and if we continue to strive to be the best then I know we’re on the right track.
“I’ve been so impressed with the intensity and attitude of the guys in training ... it’s improved a lot since last week and we’re looking forward to playing at Coca-Cola Park, a venue that’s been good to the Boks in the past. Our record there is good ... but we still have to arrive and play good rugby.
“England, too, will be much improved this week. They’ll be up for it after finishing strongly in Durban and they’ll be fancying their chances.”
De Villiers said one of his team’s long-term goals is to make playing in South Africa as difficult as possible for visiting teams. “We want to make it difficult for them to come here and win. This match at Coca-Cola Park (and the series) is a first step in that process.”
SA: Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen, Jean de Villiers (capt), Frans Steyn, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Juandré Kruger, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira. Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Werner Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Keegan Daniel, Ruan Pienaar, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson
England: Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Jonathan Joseph, Manusamoa Tuilagi, David Strettle, Toby Flood, Ben Youngs, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (capt), Tom Johnson, Geoff Parling, Mouritz Botha, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler. Replacements: Lee Mears, Alex Corbisiero, Tom Palmer, Thomas Waldrom, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Alex Goode.
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Jhb
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Aus), Simon McDowell (Ire)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Sco)