Springboks captain de Villiers expects response against Samoa

Andy Newport 07:04 26/09/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Point to prove: De Villiers.

Springboks skipper Jean de Villiers has told his South Africa troops they have a duty to their countrymen to rectify the nightmare World Cup loss to Japan.

– INTERVIEW: Fitzpatrick on NZ’s quest for greater glory
– #RWC15: Mike Brown ready for fierce Wales clash
– VIDEO – Burgess: ‘The atmosphere’s going to be electric’
– #RWC2015 Diary: Fanatics light up the Millennium Stadium

Fans the world over were left open-mouthed as the Brave Blossoms threw caution to the wind at the end of a thrilling contest, getting their reward with Karne Hesketh’s incredible stoppage-time touchdown.

But while Eddie Jones’ side rightly lapped up the adulation which flooded down on top of them, the South Africans have spent the past week undergoing a national soul-searching exercise.

Now De Villiers has ordered his team to make amends for the defeat by beating their next Pool B opponents Samoa at Villa Park. He said: “We all know how important this game is for our country, the game of rugby. We are a very proud nation. What saddens me is to see how a loss like this can break the country apart. We have a responsibility to rectify that.

“Rugby is a game but in South Africa it has become so much more than just a game and we carry that responsibility with us every single time we enter the field. We disappointed a lot of people last week. We need to stand up. We put ourselves in this position and we need to get ourselves out of this position.”

De Villiers has the full backing of Boks coach Heyneke Meyer and is one of just seven players to keep their places for the Samoa clash.

“Yes I did (expect to be dropped),” he admitted. “After the backing that the coach has given me, I have to perform and show that I deserve that opportunity.”

Samoa coach Stephen Bethem has brought in Mike Stanley at fly-half in place of veteran Tusi Pisi, who drops to the bench after an erratic kicking display in their opening 25-16 win over the USA.

“We’ve got to bring all we’ve got and face up,” Bethem said. “We’ve always expected South Africa to be our toughest opponent and that hasn’t changed one bit. We are not expecting anything less from South Africa. We are expecting a fired up side: a side that is out to prove a point, a side hungry for a win.”

Know more about Sport360 Application

Recommended

Most popular

North feeling older and wiser ahead of the #RWC15

Andrew Baldock 05:46 26/09/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Experienced: North.

George North is relishing launching his second World Cup campaign on Saturday – an experience that he describes as rugby union’s “biggest honour.”

– INTERVIEW: Fitzpatrick on NZ’s quest for greater glory
– #RWC15: Mike Brown ready for fierce Wales clash
– VIDEO – Burgess: ‘The atmosphere’s going to be electric’
– #RWC2015 Diary: Fanatics light up the Millennium Stadium

The juggernaut wing was just 19 when he helped Wales reach the World Cup semi-finals in New Zealand four years ago. But he has gone on to win more than 50 caps – the youngest rugby union player to achieve that feat – and score 23 Test tries, which puts him fourth on Wales’ all-time list behind Shane Williams, Gareth Thomas and Ieuan Evans.

“For me, the World Cup is the biggest honour,” he said. “Whenever I put a Wales jersey on, I want to play my best, so there is no lack of effort. But any World Cup is the time you want to be shining, and obviously being so close to home this time it would be a good one to shine in.

“For me, 2011 was a massive learning curve. If I look back, it was just the fact that I was so young and so naive to the ways of international rugby at the time.

“I just had a few caps to my name, and it was just a massive learning curve as to what to do and getting my preparation right. I guess now it is a case of becoming more professional and knowing what is better for me on a week-toweek basis with a Test match on the Saturday. It has been about working out where I can be a pain.”

Wales’ coaching staff have been actively encouraging North to target more ball-in-hand time during games, and there is no doubt that he could cause havoc today if opportunities arise.

“Obviously, everyone says that the more touches you can have in a game, the more impact you can have, and no-one gets more frustrated when I don’t get any ball than myself,” he said. “I think the more Hallam (Amos), Liam (Williams) and I can get our hands on the ball, the quicker the tempo we can get and the better it will fall into our game plan.”

Most popular

Mike Brown ready for fierce Wales clash as #RWC15 hots up

Duncan Bech 05:13 26/09/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Loyal lieutenant: Brown with Robshaw.

Mike Brown has recalled his act of defiance at the Millennium Stadium in February as England steel themselves for a showdown against Wales that has been billed as the biggest in the rivals’ long history.

– INTERVIEW: Fitzpatrick on NZ’s quest for greater glory
– VIDEO – Burgess: ‘The atmosphere’s going to be electric’
– #RWC2015 Diary: Fanatics light up the Millennium Stadium

Never will the stakes have been higher between the old foes when Twickenham hosts their 127th encounter, with victory offering sight out of a fiercely competitive pool that also includes Australia.

England will be emboldened by their victory in Cardiff in the opening match of this year’s Six Nations which saw them atone for the nadir of Stuart Lancaster’s reign in 2013 when a Grand Slam was denied by a humbling 30-3 rout.

Apart from the result, the evening was memorable for the pre-match tunnel stand-off that saw Brown angrily intervene when Chris Robshaw was being ordered by officials to lead his team on to the pitch while Wales remained in the changing room.

“At the time it was a case of standing up for my captain as I was next in line in that tunnel. It was a bit embarrassing,” Brown said.

“Chris was coming under heat from the people in the tunnel trying to move him along so I was backing him up, being the gobby so-and-so that I am, and he was being more calm and collected. We need to stamp our authority on the game right from the start against Wales and we’ll build from there.”

Robshaw will overtake England’s World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson when he skippers the Red Rose for a 40th time, placing him second outright behind Will Carling who was at the helm for 59 internationals.

Robshaw’s leadership has been questioned at times since succeeding Lewis Moody in 2012, but Harlequins team-mate Brown believes he is unfairly maligned.

“Chris is a world-class player. He doesn’t need to say a lot, we just try and follow his example,” he said. “I’ve grown up with him, so for me it is great to see what he has achieved and it is great for me to be alongside him whilst he is achieving it.”

England’s team selection has ratcheted up the stakes in a match that acts as the first of two games over successive weekends that Lancaster accepts will define his reign as head coach.

Owen Farrell has displaced George Ford at fly-half and Sam Burgess must duel with Wales battering ram Jamie Roberts despite having played only 112 minutes of international rugby union.

Around 20,000 Welsh fans are expected at Twickenham to witness a game the World Cup hosts enter as bookmakers’ favourites, and fullback Brown knows what lies in wait.

“The England-Wales rivalry was always massive growing up from the age of five when I used to watch matches with my old man,” Brown said.

“They’re massive occasions and this one has the added spice of being a World Cup game. The 2013 loss is still deep inside me. That was a tough day at the office and is a massive driving force for the team.

“We have been through a couple of bad ones and that was definitely one of them. Wales definitely seem to enjoy beating us, it’s intense.

“It’s a rivalry that’s been going on for a number of years – we’ve all grown up watching it. Wales love their rugby and they love beating England so it makes for a great occasion.

“We can’t wait to get out there, it’s going to be one hell of an occasion and we’re lucky to be part of it. England seem to have a lot of grudge matches or rivalries – it’s hard to put one above the rest, but I know this will be an incredible occasion and a great game.”

Most popular