De Villiers wary of England threat
November 24, 2010
Peter De Villiers is expecting a tough time against England © Getty Images
South Africa coach Peter De Villiers believes that England are a force to be reckoned with 10 months out from the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
The struggling Springboks face Martin Johnson's side at Twickenham on Saturday having lost to Scotland last weekend and their under-fire coach is under no illusions as to the task awaiting them.
Since ending another disappointing Six Nations campaign with an improved showing against France in March, England have beaten Australia home and away and came through another challenging test against Samoa last time out.
"Martin has made England a world force again. It is a hell of a worrying factor for us, especially with the World Cup so close, that they are gelling as a team," De Villiers said. "We will always respect them and it is good for world rugby if England rugby is strong. They are definitely the best scrummaging side in the world now.
"They have annihilated every side they have faced in the scrum. A full Twickenham will ensure that this is the toughest Test of the tour for us. There is always pressure in this job. There are 22 players around you but there are the hopes of 43 million people at stake in every game.
"You never get used to it. Saturday's performance wasn't a true reflection of the talent in this squad and the players want to put that right and end the Test season on a high."
Johnson is expecting a backlash from the Boks after their Murrayfield misfire but believes that his confident side are ready to face the threat head on.
"There is nothing better than getting that intensity of a Test match in your legs, your lungs and your brain. We have moved up every game," Johnson said. "We are in a good place. Good teams play well every week. Good players play well every Test match.
"We are going to have to play very well to beat South Africa. They will come to Twickenham and bring all they have got. That is the challenge, let's relish it and see how we stand up."
Back in 2002 South Africa arrived at Twickenham following a loss to Scotland and were dispatched 53-3 amid mayhem orchestrated by skipper Corne Krige and lock Jannes Labuschagne, who was red carded for a late hit on Jonny Wilkinson. Johnson is not expecting this Springbok side to fold quite so easily.
"They won't collapse under the pressure, put it that way," Johnson said. "They are world champions and they still have a lot of experience in the group. They have a huge amount of pride in being the Springboks, as we do with England."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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