Jean de Villiers wonâ€™t let last weekâ€™s slip-ups dent his confidence ahead of the second Test against England.
â€œBesides those mistakes, I feel I had a good game,â€ he told keo.co.za. â€œIt was a great improvement on the Ireland match, with Wynand Olivier and I enjoying a good partnership in the midfield. We made more tackles and were effective in slowing down their ball.â€
One of the Springboksâ€™ star players, De Villiers made two bad decisions in the 21-23 defeat at Twickenham last Saturday. The first was failing to link up with Akona Ndungane on his inside and complete his initial 65m interception with a five-pointer. The second was allowing the Poms a man advantage when he was sinbinned in the second half.
Speaking about the interception that was snuffed out by a brilliant cover tackle by Josh Lewsey, De Villiers was understandably despondent.
â€œBasically, I had three or four options in a situation like that, and I didnâ€™t take any of them,â€ he laments. â€œI just did nothing. I had the option to play the ball inside; I could also have had a go for the line by charging him to allow myself more room to score; or even the chip kick inside wouldnâ€™t have been a bad choice.
â€œIn the end I just made it an easy tackle for Lewsey. Itâ€™s disappointing, but I canâ€™t let that affect my confidence when I run out again this Saturday.â€
De Villiers is not a player who has obtained many yellow cards in his career, and he admits that this rare caution cost his side dearly.
â€œI was off just before half-time to get a cut above my eye stitched; so I wasnâ€™t in the changing room and wasnâ€™t aware we were on our last warning,â€ he explains. â€œItâ€™s funny how things happen in rugby sometimes.
â€œBut I regret what I did, as ultimately it cost us a lot in that game. It was a terrible decision on my part.â€
The Bok No 12 is now bent on ensuring the visitors donâ€™t leave the UK empty handed, with the final Test of the tour just a couple of days away. Both centre combinations remain intact for this fixture, and De Villiers expects much of the same from Englandâ€™s Jamie Noon and Mathew Tait.
â€œI thought they were quite solid in the previous game. Mathew Tait is a great young talent, and Jamie Noon proved to be a hard runner to keep in check at inside centre.
â€œWe have a new flyhalf again this week with Andre [Pretorius]coming in, but this shouldnâ€™t disrupt us at all. Itâ€™s a great loss that Butch is injured, but Andre is also a fantastic player and I donâ€™t think much will change in the way we plan to play.â€
By Jon Cardinelli, in London