Smit hopeful of improved Boks showing


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    Springboks captain John Smit is optimistic his depleted side can bounce back from a lacklustre display against Australia to challenge the All Blacks in their Tri-Nations Test on Saturday.

    The veteran hooker is set to lead out an inexperienced South African side in his 104th international in Wellington still smarting after being well beaten 39-20 by a rampant Wallabies side in Sydney last weekend.

    With 21 players left at home to rest injuries, the 33-year-old Smit is the elder statesman in a side short on caps but with a desire to impress Springboks coach Pieter de Villiers in World Cup year.

    He has been impressed with the will to succeed shown by the young players in the squad.

    “It’s an opportunity,” Smit said.

    “A lot of these boys have played in their first Test match. There’s still some boys here without a Test blazer.

    “It’s nice to be able to travel with a bunch of guys who are hungry and going for every second.”

    While the side was shorn of plenty of experience, Smit, who will play his last Test for the Springboks at the World Cup before joining English premiership champions Saracens, is not prepared to use that as an excuse.

    “It’s still a Bok team, still the same jersey.”

    The manner of the defeat against Australia was tough to take for South African fans, with only two late tries giving the scoreboard a semblance of respectability something Smit was hoping to put right on Saturday.

    “I wanted us to be a little bit more competitive last week. I had high expectations but we got some simple things wrong.

    “Hopefully we’ve fixed those things … and we can pose a bigger threat this weekend,” he said.

    The Springboks arrived in the New Zealand capital on Thursday after spending a couple of days training in Sydney trying to iron out some of the problems that were evident against Australia.

    Smit said the side had been working on eliminating mistakes, retaining possession and, like the All Blacks, concentrating on tidying up their work at the breakdown.

    Meanwhile, de Villiers had to fend off accusations that the players left in South Africa were not injured and were instead at a training camp under the guidance of technical director Rassie Erasmus when he got off the plane on Thursday.

    He said as far as he was concerned the players were injured and were not training, but he would not know if they would be available for the home Tri-Nations matches next month until he arrived back in the Republic.

    The controversial coach said the expanded Super Rugby competition had put added load on players in the World Cup year which was behind the plague of injuries they had suffered and he was not surprised the All Blacks had chosen to rest forwards Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Kieran Read and Keven Mealamu for a second weekend.

    “The Super 15 is a tough competition and Graham Henry is a sensible coach, and person, and he’ll know how to manage the players,” he said.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • July 30th 2011 @ 7:25am
      warrenexpatinnz said | July 30th 2011 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      ABs by 13 and under, hardly any of my predictions become reality of course.
      “baby Boks” are playing for three or four positions so they should at least give the first half a good crack and with the weather so so think the second half may be a little unstructured, not that the AB coaches will be wanting this for their charges as if they put the foot on the throat and keep it there unlike the Wallabies the week before they will take further build up points into the Eden Park clash.
      I guess most people watching their respective TN side have that fear of an injury to a must have player and when the final whistle goes tonight and the likes of Carter and McCaw can still walk that sigh of relief around NZ must almost be audible from Melbourne.

    • July 30th 2011 @ 12:41pm
      Gerrard said | July 30th 2011 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

      As a Bok fan i will be realistic, 64-6 AB’s. Oh and please John, do us all a favour and fook off b4 the WC.

      • July 30th 2011 @ 2:35pm
        Dave said | July 30th 2011 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

        You reckon he’s that far off the pace?

      • July 30th 2011 @ 2:36pm
        warrenexpatinnz said | July 30th 2011 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

        Mate you don’t give some of those players enough credit. I would be suprised if the ABs put 50 on the Boks tonight as think they will be wanting set piece perfection, as close as to it and this may lead to a far more structured game and less points?

    • July 31st 2011 @ 12:21pm
      zhenry said | July 31st 2011 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

      Alright to be wise after the event but big improvement from Boks. Played very well for periods.
      ABs are one of those teams that can look as if they are not playing well but can still pile on the points.

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