Boks urged to up mental game

 Jean de Villiers (Gallo)
Jean de Villiers (Gallo)

Johannesburg - South Africa must overcome a mental block they have against New Zealand if they are to triumph in Saturday's final round Rugby Championship clash at Ellis Park, captain Jean de Villiers said on Friday.

The Springboks have won just one of their previous 10 meetings with the All Blacks and are now seeking to end the 22-game unbeaten run of the New Zealanders in Johannesburg.

"I truly believe we are good enough to beat them," De Villiers told reporters.

"Playing at home in front of a packed Ellis Park, it's a great stadium to play at with the crowd behind you.

"We need to get over that mental barrier we have built up around playing's easier said than done but we truly do believe we can do it. In the past we have played well and didn't get the result, at some stage that will change."

The centre said "attitude" would be important for the home side to build on their 28-10 victory over Australia last weekend.

"Being able to rock up in the right frame of mind with the same attitude and the willingness to perform is crucial.

"Our problem is it has not always happened and no one has the answer why."

The respective coaches disagreed in the week whether it would be the loose-forwards or tight-five that would be the key battle, but De Villiers says all 23 players will have to be top of their game for the winning side.

"In a game like this you need every single department to fire, including the bench.

"These days you need a good squad of players to be successful."

They may be the fiercest rivals in world rugby on the pitch, but De Villiers said there were many friendships between the teams and their off-field interactions with each other was more in the sprit of the game.

"Even though these two teams have played some brutal games in the past, the mutual respect is there from both camps.

"We are able to play hard on the field, but off it we can have a drink together.

"That is something that has been lost in the professional game, but these two teams are trying to bring it back."

De Villiers also congratulated opposing skipper Richie McCaw on becoming the record-holder for the most appearances in an All Black jersey when he runs out for the 134th time on Saturday.

"He has been phenomenal for them and has made a massive difference in world rugby, I really do respect him in that regard," he said.

"When we take to the field that goes out the window, but after the game we will have a nice chat."

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