Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is determined to mark what could be his final Test at Newlands with a victory. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The 33-year-old centre has been contracted to the Boks up until the end of the 2015 season. He should travel to next year’s World Cup, a tournament that will be his international swansong.
Between now and the end of 2015, there is only one more confirmed Test at Newlands, which is against the Wallabies this Saturday. If the Boks play a Test in the Mother City next season, it’s likely to be staged at the Cape Town Stadium. The Boks trained at the Green Point venue this past week.
On Friday, De Villiers suggested Saturday’s game will be his final opportunity to win a Test match at Newlands.
‘This will probably be my last [international] game there,’ he said. ‘It’s my favourite ground, and it will be great to have my family there this weekend. Hopefully we can pull through with a win.’
Much has been made about the star-studded Wallabies backline, and how they will test the Bok defence on Saturday. Even the Wallabies have talked up the game-winning potential of their best player, Israel Folau.
On Thursday, winger Joe Tomane said Folau would be the difference in the coming clash. This remark was relayed to De Villiers, who insisted that one man cannot win a rugby match.
‘He’s a quality player and has had a big impact since moving across to rugby union. But he’s not unstoppable.
‘We feel we are in a good space as a team, and will be able to handle whatever the Wallabies throw at us. The results haven’t gone our way in the last two matches, but we have made some improvements in our game.
‘We just need to ensure that we finish better this Saturday, and convert more of our opportunities into points, ‘ De Villiers added. ‘We will play to our strengths, but we will also try a few new things.’
While the All Blacks have all but secured the Rugby Championship title, the Boks and the Wallabies will have plenty to play for at Newlands. Apart from giving their inspirational captain a fitting send-off in his last game at the venue, the Boks will want to maintain their current world ranking.
The Boks will remain in second position on the IRB rankings if they defeat the Wallabies at Newlands. This will also ensure that they take some momentum into the next fixture against the All Blacks, a team they haven’t beaten since 2011.
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