Smit sounds out warning to All Blacks
September 7, 2009
Springboks skipper John Smit saw no reason to celebrate in Brisbane on Saturday © Getty Images
South Africa captain John Smit has backed his side to bounce back from their demoralising defeat at the hands of Australia and wrap up the Tri-Nations title.
The Springboks missed the chance to clinch the southern hemisphere crown for the first time since 2004 on Saturday with a resurgent Wallabies side notching a 21-6 victory in Brisbane. Despite the setback, Peter de Villiers side remain favourites for the title - needing just a point from their final game against the All Blacks in Hamilton this weekend.
Smit, however, insists the task should not be under-estimated - adding defeat to the Wallabies has served notice that there is still work to be done.
"We knew they [Australia] were going to be firing," he said. "No one loses four on the trot and just rocks up. They were always going to be far more formidable this weekend, and we still have our own fate in our hands. Rest assured the guys will be fired up for the final game in Hamilton."
Smit knows his side will need to create more pressure against the All Blacks after a faltering display with his side showing the signs of a gruelling Test schedule.
"It's hard to pinpoint why, but it was a game where we had moments of brilliance but we just couldn't put it together enough to create that pressure," he said.
De Villiers echoed his captain's sentiments ahead of the showdown with the All Blacks at a sold-out Waikato Stadium.
"I think we have now put more pressure on ourselves. New Zealand suddenly becomes a final for us," he said. "We just have to keep our feet on the ground, we know how it tastes to win games, we know how it tastes not to be successful. We take what we get and we rejoice that we don't have any injuries that will put us on the back foot. I've always said there's a little to choose between these three teams and on the day any team can win the game."
The Springboks sit well clear at the top of the table on 17 points ahead of the Kiwis on eight, with the Wallabies a further point back with one match remaining against New Zealand in Wellington in a fortnight.
Satisfied Australia boss Robbie Deans is hoping his side can kick on after snapping a four-game losing streak that had left them rooted to the bottom of the table. "We've got one more hit-out now and we'll really look forward to getting to Wellington and hopefully pushing on from here."
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament