Jean predicts torment at Twickers

Jean De Villiers says he expects to be thoroughly tested by the England centre pair of Jamie Noon and Matthew Tait.

De Villiers was solid defensively in their 23-21 loss against England last week and allowed the duo no space to operate, effectively nullifying their influence on the Test.

The Stormers man knows Noon through his time playing Sevens and was generous in his praise of Tait, a star in the shorter version of the game.

“I played against Jamie Noon on the sevens circuit a couple of years ago and obviously Mathew Tait has been a fantastic find for the England sevens team in the last couple of years,” said de Villiers.

“One of Tait’s strong points are his outside breaks but we are just concentrating on keeping our line tight and not letting anyone through.

The Springboks rush defence worked better than it did against Ireland a fortnight ago, but there are still concerns around individuals shooting out of line and creating gaps for the opposition to exploit.

De Villiers praised the defensive showing at Twickenham and added that it provided a base on which to improve.

“I thought we did that quite well on Saturday – it’s about doing it again this weekend because defence is what wins you Test matches.

“It was a good contest and I thought both combinations were quite solid on the day,” added De Villiers, who will again be partnered by Wynand Olivier.

“It will be a good battle again on Saturday but we are focused on what we have to do to stop them.”

He refused to lament his decision to go for the tryline himself when an inside pass to Akona Ndungane might have been better advised, after he had intercepted a pass from Charlie Hogson. He did however did acknowledge that it was a turning point in the Test.

“There are certain things that change a game and that was definitely one of them,” said de Villiers recalling Josh Lewsey’s tackle that denied him the try.

“But you have to put yourself in a position to do those sorts of things. Had I scored that try we would have been on the front foot and it might have made the game much easier.

“But had I not made the intercept there would have been no talk about it this week. I thought I had the pace to beat him on the outside. Not getting that try really helped to build their confidence but I have to admit it was a fantastic tackle.”