‘Boks need to beef up defence’

2012-11-10 00:00

CAPTAIN Jean de Villiers said yesterday that he was looking for an improved Springbok defensive effort in the international Test against Ireland in Dublin tonight.

De Villiers, addressing the media on the eve of the Test, said that a principal aim of the Boks on their three-Test tour was to grow as a team.

“I think our set piece has improved and we hope our second-phase will build on that. But the one area where we need to improve though is in our defence. We let in a couple of tries in our last Test, against quality [All Black] opposition.

“Having played with and against a number of the Irish backs, I know they are capable of cutting you to shreds if you’re not up to it on the day.

“And if the weather is like it is today [cold and wet], the breakdown battle will also be immense. We basically need to make a step up in all areas.”

De Villiers said he had full confidence in new flyhalf Pat Lambie.

“He’s a class player. Pat has shown in recent years what he can do at all levels. He can play 10, 12 and 15 — and now he gets the opportunity to start at flyhalf.

“He has the full skill set to put up good performances, and I have every confidence in him.”

De Villiers said both sides were missing key players because of injury.

“Ireland and South Africa are in the same boat regarding injuries,” he said.

“We have close to 10 guys missing, who could make a massive difference were they to play.

“But that is the nature of rugby. The most important thing is to adapt and select the best possible side. It’s still a massive honour to play for your country and whoever is selected must go out and perform.”

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