Time for Boks to implement changes

2012-09-07 14:27

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers says the team has to implement the adjustments it made this week if it wants to win the Rugby Championship match against Australia in Perth tomorrow.

The Springboks have come under severe scrutiny after their 16-16 draw to Argentina a fortnight ago in Mendoza, Argentina.

“We weren’t happy with our performance against Argentina and we definitely had a lot to work on,” De Villiers said today.

“Now it is about implementing that for 80 minutes in the game and that is the only thing that counts.”

The Australians have also come under increased pressure after two consecutive losses to New Zealand.

The Wallabies are currently lying in fourth place on the Rugby Championship log and are also in danger of losing their No. 2 World ranking if they fumble against the Boks.

De Villiers, however, said the Australians should not be judged on results alone as they remained a world-class team.

“They were up against a quality side in New Zealand, they (the All Blacks) are the number-one ranked team in the world, World Cup winners and all of that,” he said.

“You should not read too much into the result, Australia has shown a lot of positives as well in those two games. They will always be a quality side, of the last seven times I think we’ve met, we’ve only beaten them once. That says a bit as well and it makes for a great game.”

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer made five changes to the side following their lacklustre performance against Los Pumas in the hope it would rejuvenate the team.

The changes among the forwards saw Stormers loose forward Duane Vermeulen named at the back of the scrum with Willem Alberts moving to the blindside.

Lock Juandré Kruger was recalled to once again partner with Eben Etzebeth while openside flanker Francois Louw could play off the bench.

De Villiers said while the forwards lacked the experience of previous Bok forward packs, it did not take anything away from their abilities.

“The starting eight only has 112 caps, last year the last game we played John Smit had 111 and Victor Matfield had 110,” he said.

“It makes a big difference when you have inexperience within the squad but the guys that have come in have really done well and taken their opportunities.

“Once you’ve got a new team and are building as a team it is an opportunity to put up your hand and stake a claim for a position in the team and stay in there for a long time.”

The Bok coach also tinkered with his backline that has been criticised for being unimaginative on attack.

Scrumhalf Francois Hougaard has been moved to left wing to accommodate Ruan Pienaar, while the Cheetahs’ prodigal flyhalf Johan Goosen could make his debut off the bench.

De Villiers said it would nevertheless be a tough task to keep the Wallabies’ dangerous attacking backline under wraps.

“They are a very skilled team, as a backline player, playing against them is difficult,” De Villiers said.

“They have a lot of skill running wise and on attack. Defensively they are always solid and this time around will be no different.”


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