'Have to play better than we've ever played'
September 13, 2013
Jean de Villiers says the Springboks must improve again to beat New Zealand © Getty Images
South Africa produce a performance from the top drawer if they are to claim victory over the All Blacks in The Rugby Championship, Jean de Villiers says.
The Springboks head to Eden Park in Auckland backing up from their biggest win over the Wallabies on Australian soil, a 38-12 result that saw them move one point clear atop the championship ladder. But de Villiers says the South Africans believe their overall execution in Brisbane could have been better, the Springboks captain saying the tourists don't expect the All Blacks to give them the same number of opportunities.
"The venue where we're playing at is not a place where a lot of people come and win," de Villiers said. "We will have to play better than we've ever played. We will have to make basically no mistakes and we will have to make sure the ball bounces in our direction."
The All Blacks haven't lost at Eden Park since going down to France in 1994, commencing their unbeaten 31-Test run at the venue with an 18-18 draw against South Africa before continuing with 30 consecutive victories. The Springboks last tasted success at the ground in 1937, when their outstanding side claimed the deciding third Test 17-6.
Bismarck du Plessis looked the goods as the captain's run © Getty Images
"No one has won here in Auckland in a Test," de Villiers said of his squad. "But we have won in New Zealand and that does show that nothing is impossible. It's first of all a massive challenge, but secondly one we can really look forward to because I don't think a lot of people expect us to win."
De Villiers has played 19 of his 90 Tests against New Zealand, against whom he began "with a bang" as a winger in Christchurch in 2004. He scored in the opening minute, but then saw a future team-mate at Irish club Munster, Doug Howlett, score at the death as the home side snatched a 23-21 victory.
South Africa prevailed in the return fixture that year and de Villiers, 32, has gone on to taste victory over the All Blacks eight times.
Follow live text commentary of the Test between New Zealand and South Africa on Saturday, September 14, from 5pm (AEST), 7pm (NZT), 9am (SAST), 7am (GMT)
Jean de Villiers enjoyed a day out in Brisbane © Getty Images
Heyneke Meyer named an unchanged squad to face New Zealand
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker