No need to panic- De Villiers

By ELLIOT MATHYE

 

South Africa rugby coach Peter de Villiers is confident and urges the Boks fan base not to panic after his charges were defeated by Scotland during their European tour on November 20. He made reference to the fact that he will be making a couple of changes to the squad which will face England at Twickenham on Saturday, November 26.

 

The home side’s dreams of a grand slam were dimmed by a strong Scotland performance, beating the Boks 21-17. De Villiers said that their clash against Scotland was the toughest they had ever encountered and the rain that day did not make it easy for them.

 

Boks scrum-half Ruan Pienaar and Pierre Spies are expected to make their return from injuries to the starting line- up to face England and they hope to add more strength and depth to the home side.

 

De Villiers said: “We spent a lot of time analyzing the game and we failed to execute our plans on the day and in our next game we will stick to our plan and hope to convert all our efforts into points”, he said.

 

 The Springboks last encounter with England was not impressive as they lost that game in 2006 but rose to the occasion the following year to claim the six meetings since then, including the 2007 World Cup final. However, the hosts are a much-improved side this year and De Villiers is bracing himself.

 

“England has made good progress since they started their tour to Australia this year and will be full of confidence. They are now a force again and it is our deepest concern, especially with the World Cup around the corner.

 

Team Captain Victor Matfield will be making his ninth appearance against England and he knows that the task at hand will not be an easy one

 

“Our first meeting with them was not good as we lost five times in a row but from that experience, things turned around and we had the upper hand since. One cannot argue their great style of play in the field recently, they have width but they run very hard which is how they used to play back in 2003, keeping the forwards in the channels.” said Matfield.

 

The captain also added that the Scotland defeat had been analyzed and the lessons learned will be on show in their next game where cold weather and even snow could be on the list of options.

 

The Boks team to face England is: Z Kirchner; G Aplon , F Steyn , J de Villiers , L Mvovo ; M Steyn , R Pienaar ; T Mtawarira , B du Plessis , J du Plessis , B Botha , V Matfield, (capt), D Stegmann , J Smith , P Spies.

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