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John smit praises 'ordinary' Springboks

Article Published: Sunday 6 June 2010

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Springboks captain John Smit says that his second string South African team were "ordinary" even though they sealed a 31-34 victory over Wales at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The world champion springboks fought their way back from an early 13-point deficit to lead 31-19 after an hour Saturday but were forced to survive a late comeback by a spirited Wales team.

Even though the Springboks will be back to full strength next weekend Smit insists his team must make major improvements if they are to get the better of France in Cape Town next week.

Smit said: "We were very ordinary in this game but thankfully we did enough to take the points home.

"This was our first game up and traditionally we are not the best of starters to the season.

"We are always pretty scratchy in the first game so it was the result, rather than the performance, that counted for us. My job now is to make sure we get better and better with every game."

South Africa featured eight players involved in the Super 14 final a week earlier but also included four European-based internationals as well as the enforced late withdrawal of Butch James.

Potgieter scored his first Test try at a crucial time just after the break following a powerful burst by man of the match Danie Rossouw, who Smit believes, will be pushing Bakkies Botha all the way for selection.

Smit said: "Danie is in the form of his life right now. For how many years have we thought the choice for the number four jersey was a fait accompli. But I don't think that is the case anymore.

"The most pleasing thing from this game was the way the new guys performed after such a short preparation period and after falling behind early on.

"I thought all the new guys coming in were outstanding - not only did they fit in, but they will provide real competition for places."

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "We are very frustrated because that was an opportunity to claim a big win and we didn't take it.

"In the opening 25 minutes we were clinical, accurate and 16-3 up, and then we caught some sort of disease, I don't know what it is.

"We got ourselves in a bit of trouble, got behind and then showed great character at the end. But we are frustrated at a missed opportunity."

"But the comeback was a real positive and we showed real character in the final 15 minutes to give us a chance at winning the game."

Springboks Coach Pieter de Villiers said: "Any coach would always want more time with his players to prepare for a Test match but we knew what we had, we put our priorities in order and I thought we did a good job."

De Villiers added: "We were very pleased how all of those went."

"We don't simply give out the colours, they all earned their stripes by playing well throughout the Super 14 season.

"This was a just reward for them and we are in a very favourable position to have that sort of strength in depth for the future."

South Africa face a Test against Six Nations champions France in Cape Town next weekend.

De Villiers said: "We saw how good France were in the Six Nations."

"But the funny thing with France is that on their day, they can take you to the cleaners and on another day they don't turn up."

"I hope we get the second one."

 
 
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