De Villiers: Boks are ready for end of year push

South Africa captain Jean de Villiers says that the Springboks will need no extra motivation to lift their game and finish the year on a high against Wales.

In the Springboks last meeting against Wales they were pushed hard by the Welsh who led 0-17 and 17-30 early in the clash in Nelspruit in June before South Africa edged it 31-30.

That win stretched the Springboks’ formidable record over Wales to just one loss (1999) and one draw (1970) in 29 matches between the two countries.

“It’s pretty easy to motivate yourself,” De Villiers insisted.

“It’s the last one, you can put all your effort into it – not that you don’t in any other week of the year.

“The responsibility is there to represent and represent with pride. There’s a lot of motivation and obviously we’re playing a quality side that has a lot to prove as well so it makes the challenge so much bigger.

“We are professional enough to know there’s still a job in hand tomorrow and we need to make sure we perform well.”

South Africa got their November series off to a disappointing start with a 29-15 defeat by Ireland before rebounding with a 31-28 victory over England and a scrappy 22-6 win against Italy.

Wales have gone down to Australia, 33-28, scraped past Fiji 17-13, but last weekend pushed world champions New Zealand for 69 minutes before leaking four late tries.

“They’ve been pretty good,” De Villiers said of the Welsh displays at Millennium Stadium this month.

“I think sometimes you can just get caught into the results. Certainly we’ve been in that position as well where we’ve actually played good rugby but have not been able to win.

“You have to put everything into perspective and make sure that you look at all facets of your play.

“They’re a quality side and they almost beat us in South Africa and we’re under no illusions that tomorrow’s going to be one hell of a Test,” said De Villiers, whose side were alone this year in inflicting defeat upon the All Blacks, winning by a two-point deficit in a dead rubber after New Zealand had already wrapped up the Rugby Championship.

With Saturday’s game falling outside the international Test window, both sides have been forced into a number of changes, with some players recalled for club duty.

But De Villiers was in no doubt the replacements summoned could make the step-up.

“There’ll be pressure for both teams, and it’s being able to make the big plays in the difficult times of the game. There will be crucial times when we need to deliver,” the veteran centre said.

“And I’m confident in the guys we’ve selected in the backline and forwards that they can do that.”

Turning to Wales midfield duo Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts, De Villiers added: “They’re a quality centre combination. They’re certainly pushing it as one of the top combinations in world rugby.

“They will definitely test us in defence and from a defensive point of view for them, they’re very astute.”

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