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26 Aug 2009 13:31
The Tri-Nations title may be within reach, but South Africa coach Peter de Villiers says the Springboks aren’t looking beyond Saturday’s Test against struggling Australia at Subiaco Oval in Perth.
Victory over the injury-hit Wallabies would put the unbeaten Springboks in an almost impregnable position at the top of the Tri-Nations ladder after just four matches, following two wins over New Zealand and a 29-17 thumping of the Wallabies at Newlands earlier this month.
However, speaking on Wednesday, De Villiers said it would be business as usual for his players this weekend in the first of three away Tests for the Springboks over the next three weeks.
“It has worked well up to now to concentrate on one game at a time,” he said.
“That is how this team likes to prepare—to throw everything into one game and this game we will throw everything into. And then the next game we will do the same.
“We take it one game at a time,” De Villiers said.
He dismissed suggestions his team’s kicking-based style of play was strangling attractive and entertaining rugby, leading to a dearth of tries.
He said he expected and hoped running rugby would return as the sport evolved, but that the Springboks were simply playing to the current laws.
“Entertainment is one of the boxes we want to tick off, but it doesn’t mean it is the first one,” he said.
“We didn’t invent this game and we didn’t write the laws.
“The law changes called for us to adapt and our adaptation, at this moment, is spot on and I am proud of how the team has adapted.
“It doesn’t mean that we can’t carry the ball, that we can’t drive, that we don’t have a good line-out game or scrumming game.
“We have worked hard at every small thing in the game to make it work.
“We are winning and our obligation is firstly to all South Africans, and then to the rest of the world.”
De Villiers said there were few injury concerns in the Springboks camp, although he added that he would err on the side of caution with utility forward Danie Rossouw, who is being troubled by a slight hamstring strain.
He said flanker Juan Smith would be available for selection for Saturday’s game.
The Wallabies have this week suggested they have some new tactics up their sleeve to foil the Springboks’ kicking game, but De Villiers doubted the Australians would significantly alter the way they play.
“I don’t know what their plans are ...
“It has taken us a while to come to the grips with the fact that we can be leaders.
“It speaks volumes that we can now dictate the terms of how rugby should be played in the world.”
De Villiers also noted the Wallabies had taken a physical battering in last Saturday’s 19-18 loss to the All Blacks in Sydney.—AFP
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