Jean: 2013 will be different

Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok captain Jean de Villiers insists this year's Rugby Championship campaign will be a much better one from his charges.

The Boks finished third in the competition last year, only ahead of Argentina, and were somewhat lucky to escape with a 16-all draw against them in Mendoza.

Since that draw, the Boks have won seven from 10 Tests, including morale-boosting wins against Ireland, Scotland and England on their end-of-year tour to the UK last year.

And De Villiers believes the players have showed immense improvement since that horror game in Mendoza.

"Mistakes weren't the problem in that Mendoza game, it was more a lack of confidence,” De Villiers told the SARugbymag website. "I remember being out on the field and just watching it all unfolding, watching things going from bad to worse, watching the guys start to have a go at one another.

"Afterwards, we came together as a group. It was a real turning point. Maybe we didn't get the results right away (they would lose to the Wallabies in Australia, and twice to the All Blacks), but we were slowly becoming a team. We won three games on the end-of-year tour, and then followed that up with three wins in the series played this June.

"This year is going to be different. We are a lot better prepared this time round, and as a squad we're a lot more confident. We've learned lessons from last year, and we've got a lot to rectify. Hopefully we can progress to the next level in this Rugby Championship."

The Boks start their Rugby Championship campaign with a home Test against the Pumas at FNB Stadium on Saturday (17:00 kick-off).

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England 92/4 (28 ov)
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England 92/4 (28 ov)
Pakistan 326
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