Springbok captain Jean de Villiers says the success of his team’s November tour will depend on securing a positive result on Saturday.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers says the success of his team’s November tour of Europe will depend on securing a positive result on Saturday.
While Wales are desperate to end their long losing streak against the southern hemisphere opposition, De Villiers says his team will be treating the clash at the Millennium Stadium like a “World Cup Final.”
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.
“This is a very important game for us,” said De Villiers after Friday’s captain’s run.
“The success of the year will be determined by the result tomorrow, and also our preparation going into a World Cup will definitely take a backward step if we don’t get a good result.
“We have only got five games left before the (2015) World Cup. Our focus is only on tomorrow’s game and what we need to improve on, because we have got quite a lot we need to improve on.
“Wales have got a lot to prove as well. This game is like a World Cup Final as it’s a must-win. We need to put in a good performance.”
South Africa need no extra motivation to raise themselves for their season-ending Test. The Boks were pushed hard by the Welsh in their last match, led 17-0 and 30-17 early in the clash in Nelspruit in June before emerging 31-30 victors.
“It’s pretty easy to motivate yourself,” insisted De Villiers.
“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.”
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 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.
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.”