Namibia

Div pleased, but not satisfied

Thu, 22 Sep 2011 00:00
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While he again insisted a coach could never be completely satisfied, Springbok mentor Peter de Villiers said on Thursday he was pleased with his team's 87-0 RWC Pool D victory over Namibia in Albany.

"I am very pleased with what we achieved today," De Villiers said. "We started off [being] loose, got our act together and when we stuck to our guns and played our match, we actually scored more points.

"It just shows you that it is a team game, and if individuals get ahead of themselves, sometimes the team will lose out."

South Africa's victory over their Southern African neighbours marked another milestone for the team as they bettered their biggest World Cup winning margin of 66 points - which was set against Uruguay in 2003.

It was a match of milestones, as South Africa also equalled their own record run of 10 unbeaten games at the World Cup and former IRB Player of the Year Bryan Habana set a new Springbok try-scoring record with his 39th career try.

De Villiers praised Bok skipper John Smit for ensuring the side lifted their game after a relatively unimpressive first half.

"Hats off to John for regrouping the team and getting things back on track," he said.

The Springboks kept a clean sheet after leaking only three points against Fiji last week, and have only conceded one try from three games - in their opening match against Wales in Wellington.

De Villiers said his squad had placed a lot of emphasis on their defence - under defence specialist Jacques Nienaber - and that they now considered themselves to be among the best in that department.

"I said last week that we take pride in our defence and our try line," he said.

"We want to keep everyone out if we can, but we also understand that we can't always control those kinds of things.

"We work very hard on our systems defensively and in three games now we have showed that we are really up with the best."

The Bok coach, who has become far more tactful when addressing the media, would not accept that the mistakes his charges had made in the first half would have been capitalised on far more effectively by more formidable opponents.

"If it were another team we would have done things differently, so we can't assume that another team would have punished us, for we may not have made the same mistakes against another team," he said.

"You are talking about a perfect world and we are not in a perfect world, we are in New Zealand.

"We actually know that we are playing against the best in the whole world."

Bok captain John Smit was also full of praise for his team, saying: "I am pretty happy with how the set-piece went and that along with our defence is what we've working the hardest on.

"There will be bigger tests coming in the future but it was a step."

The Namibians gave it a crack and held the Springboks to 31-0 at half-time before the effort told and their defensive line cracked wide open.

"Eighty-seven points is very disappointing and we expected to do better. They really punished us when we made mistakes," Namibian skipper Jacques Burger said.

"Unfortunately, we made the same mistakes as the other games. We just made too many mistakes and got punished for it."

South Africa moved to 14 points at the top of Pool D, eight ahead of Samoa and nine ahead of Wales, needing only one more point in their final group game against Samoa next week to clinch a berth in the Last Eight.

The Springboks have now totted up 153 points in their three games at the World Cup and are moving ominously into form ahead of a likely quarterfinal with Australia.

SAPA & AFP

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