Jean: Injured Boks on right track
Captain Jean de Villiers insists the Boks are on the right track despite a narrow loss to a resurgent Australia.
South African captain Jean de Villiers insists the Springboks are on the right track despite a narrow loss to a resurgent Australia in their Rugby Championship Test.
The Springboks led 13-3 at one stage in the first half on Saturday but the Wallabies came from behind to win 26-19 and notch a much-needed win after last month's embarrassing 0-22 loss to New Zealand.
It was Australia's fifth win in a row over South Africa, themselves keen to make a statement after a disappointing 16-16 draw with Argentina in their previous outing in the four-nation tournament.
To add injury to insult, the Boks have concerns with wing Bryan Habana (ankle), who scored the only try against the Wallabies, and tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis (hamstring) both forced from the field.
Lock Eben Etzebeth has also been cited after appearing to headbutt Sharpe in the first half.
De Villiers said the result was disappointing, especially after his team had laid the foundations for a win, but that the side would continue to improve as they gained more experience.
"I don't think that we can suddenly expect to be the greatest team in the world and just click and play fantastic rugby. We need to learn from the experiences, we need to grow as a team and that takes some time.
"We want to be winning every single game that we play and those pressures from the media, from the fans, we feel them at times."
De Villiers said that Wallabies veteran Nathan Sharpe "had more caps than our whole pack just about", which put things into perspective.
"But we believe that we are on the right track. We believe that we played much better rugby today and hopefully we can keep on improving when we play next week as well," he said.
"It is a young team but it is Test match rugby and you don't have a lot of time to grow at this level. We need to quickly rectify those mistakes and hopefully get a better result next week."
Coach Heyneke Meyer, with just three wins from his first six Tests at the helm, echoed de Villiers's sentiments.
The Springboks, who stand second in the Rugby Championship table with seven points, behind New Zealand (12) face a mammoth task against the all-conquering All Blacks in Dunedin next Saturday.