Fresh from his side’s 53-8 record victory over Australia, South Africa coach Peter de Villiers warned that this side could only get better in the future if they continued in this vein.
De Villiers was still glowing after Victor Matfield and his team inflicted the worst ever defeat on the Wallabies in their history, saving the home team’s blushes and giving De Villiers some breathing space after weeks of heavy criticism over his playing style.
But with a tour to Britain in November awaiting and clashes with England, Scotland and Wales ahead, the Springboks are hoping to refine their playing style before next year’s British and Irish Lions tour to the country.
De Villiers said candidly that he knew a number of things had not gone his side’s way during the Tri-Nations. While they lost four out of six games, they did manage their first win in New Zealand in 10 years and Saturday’s big win over Australia will be seen as an improvement.
Australian coach Robbie Deans put it bluntly that “a cocktail of desperation and uninhibited rugby” had finally allowed the Boks to click under the pressure, and while De Villiers denied there was much more structure to their game plan, he was happy to say that he was a lot more positive looking ahead.
“If I am asked if I wished a number of things would go differently, well, I would say I wish I was a millionaire, and then I’d wish for nothing. Wishes are dreams.
“The truth is that this team can get a lot better and they are not where they want to be at the moment. They are around 60-70 per cent where we want to be and we know we can get better the more we play together.”
“There are things we need to work on at the moment and we need to get that better in the months that come. For instance, we still tend to go off our feet too much, and we have too many one-off runners.
“Our chase on our own kicks isn’t very effective at the moment and we need to do more to put the opposition under pressure.
“Robbie may say it’s a cocktail, but we all know how nice a cocktail is. You enjoy drinking it and while things went well for us in the game, we believe in what we do and we know we will have to work hard, but we also know precisely what we can do,” De Villiers said.
The Boks coach also said he would negotiate Monday with the various provincial teams to give selected national players time off to ensure they are fresh for the Lions tour next year.