De Villiers backs his troops

 Nov 05,2012
Written by: Editor

Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers is adamant his team can overcome a long injury list on their three-Test tour of the UK and Ireland this month.

South Africa tackle Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, before travelling to Edinburgh for their next assignment against Scotland and then end off with a trip to Twickenham where England awaits on November 24.

"We have come a long way as a team this year but we are looking to improve and take our game to the next level and win all three matches on tour," said De Villiers.

"We have a lot of youngsters because we are missing some injured players with a lot of experience. Guys like wing Bryan Habana, loose forwards Pierre Spies and Schalk Burger and hooker Tiaan Liebenberg."

The Springboks are not the only team suffering from the loss of key players - Ireland will be without captain Brian O'Driscoll, veteran hooker Rory Best and inspirational flank Stephen Ferris.

"I have huge respect for Brian, he is a fantastic player and they will miss his leadership," said De Villiers.

"But Ireland are a quality side. It is never easy playing a test match over there.

"We have lost three out of the last four matches against Ireland and it is something we want to improve on."

De Villiers has also been nursing an injury and was forced to sit out the Currie Cup final which saw his team take home the silverware for the first time in 11 years.

"I'm getting better," said De Villiers.

"I'm not 100 per cent yet but if all goes according to plan with the rehabilitation I should be ready for the Ireland match."

De Villiers said conceding "soft tries" was his biggest concern as that had cost his team the chance of victory over New Zealand and Australia during the recent Rugby Championship tournament.

"We certainly want to improve our decision making, especially with the conditions over there, but we will be facing different teams with different tactics so we will need to be spot on with our planning and execution," he added.

The Springboks have not completed a clean sweep of victories in the northern hemisphere since 2008 when they beat Scotland and Wales before ending the tour with a thumping victory over England at Twickenham.


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