De Villiers braced for Blacklash

Peter de Villiers is expecting the All Blacks to come out with ‘all guns blazing’ at King’s Park.

De Villiers watched his side deliver a tactically impressive performance against the Blacks in Bloemfontein en route to a 28-19 victory, but was acutely aware that they would be determined to take at least four points back to New Zealand.

‘Graham Henry said before they arrived here that he views this as a series. In the Super 14 the New Zealand teams target certain games they think they can win, and I think the All Blacks would have targeted this one,’ De Villiers told keo.co.za.

‘They’re a good side and they’ll come out all guns blazing. They’ll study us and we’ll study them, and we’ll see who comes out on top. It’s going to be a wonderful Test match.’

Reflecting on their performance at Vodacom Park, De Villiers said there was room for improvement in all facets of play.

‘The All Blacks were good at breakdown time, and they surprised us there,’ he explained. ‘We worked hard not to lose the ball there but in some cases we did and we’ll need to have a look at that. But overall I thought we did well there, particularly playing against Richie McCaw.

‘The tight five were very good I thought and they stood up well in the collisions,’ he continued. ‘In the set phases it was pretty equal, they had there’s and we had ours.’

The Springboks could have won by a larger margin had flyhalf Ruan Pienaar not failed with four of his five goal kicks. De Villiers defended the player, stressing that he is a competent goal kicker.

‘Ruan is a sweet striker of the ball and it just didn’t go for him for some reason. Those early kicks could well have gone the other way,’ he said.

‘He’ll always be good and is the type of player we can build our future around,’ he said in response to questions of whether he would consider dropping Pienaar for Morne Steyn.

‘He’s a great playmaker. Lets give him time.’

The Springboks haven’t won a two-Test series against the Blacks in the post-apartheid era, but De Villiers had no time for stats like those.

‘We don’t look at things like that. If the win comes it comes,’ he said. ‘For us it’s about focussing on delivering on the day. That said, it will be good to win and make some history for the people of this country.’

By Ryan Vrede, in Durban