'Have to play better than we've ever played'
September 13, 2013
Jean de Villiers says the Springboks must improve again to beat New Zealand © Getty Images
South Africa produce a performance from the top drawer if they are to claim victory over the All Blacks in The Rugby Championship, Jean de Villiers says.
The Springboks head to Eden Park in Auckland backing up from their biggest win over the Wallabies on Australian soil, a 38-12 result that saw them move one point clear atop the championship ladder. But de Villiers says the South Africans believe their overall execution in Brisbane could have been better, the Springboks captain saying the tourists don't expect the All Blacks to give them the same number of opportunities.
"The venue where we're playing at is not a place where a lot of people come and win," de Villiers said. "We will have to play better than we've ever played. We will have to make basically no mistakes and we will have to make sure the ball bounces in our direction."
The All Blacks haven't lost at Eden Park since going down to France in 1994, commencing their unbeaten 31-Test run at the venue with an 18-18 draw against South Africa before continuing with 30 consecutive victories. The Springboks last tasted success at the ground in 1937, when their outstanding side claimed the deciding third Test 17-6.
Bismarck du Plessis looked the goods as the captain's run © Getty Images
"No one has won here in Auckland in a Test," de Villiers said of his squad. "But we have won in New Zealand and that does show that nothing is impossible. It's first of all a massive challenge, but secondly one we can really look forward to because I don't think a lot of people expect us to win."
De Villiers has played 19 of his 90 Tests against New Zealand, against whom he began "with a bang" as a winger in Christchurch in 2004. He scored in the opening minute, but then saw a future team-mate at Irish club Munster, Doug Howlett, score at the death as the home side snatched a 23-21 victory.
South Africa prevailed in the return fixture that year and de Villiers, 32, has gone on to taste victory over the All Blacks eight times.
Follow live text commentary of the Test between New Zealand and South Africa on Saturday, September 14, from 5pm (AEST), 7pm (NZT), 9am (SAST), 7am (GMT)
Jean de Villiers enjoyed a day out in Brisbane © Getty Images
Heyneke Meyer named an unchanged squad to face New Zealand
Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer believes the clubs supporters are the reason behind Yohan Cabaye's brilliant recent form
Swansea have progressed to the last 32 of the Europa League despite losing to St Gallen, but Wigan suffered a defeat at Maribor which sees them exit the competition
Roger Federer and his agent Tony Godsick have formed an agency called Team8, which is set to represent fellow tennis stars Juan Martin del Potro and Grigor Dimitrov
Ireland prop Cian Healy will miss the start of the Six Nations after being ruled out for eight weeks because of surgery on his right ankle
Oxford cruised to a 33-15 win over Cambridge in the Varsity match at Twickenham
Tom Hamilton pays a visit to Oxford University Women's Rugby Football Club who have recently made headlines across the world, from Tokyo to New York
It's not a good time to be following English cricket, and that's reflected in the odds for the 3rd Test in Perth with the visitors 9/2 to win, a remarkable price given what happened in the summer but not too appealing given the events in the first two Te
Justin Pipe speaks to ESPN about how he almost gave up darts after losing his brother, and how a serious car accident almost ended his career
Australia conceded only two points in the rugby league World Cup final against New Zealand. Was this the heaviest victory in a final?
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
Real Madrid put the seal on a fine Champions League group-stage campaign as they won 2-0 at FC Copenhagen on Tuesday - even if Cristiano Ronaldo did miss a penalty in the process
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini inexplicably appeared to miscalculate the mathematical conundrum that would have given his side top spot in their Champions League group
Arsenal have implemented special security measures for their players and fans for the Champions League trip to Napoli due to fears over hooliganism
Former boxer Mike Tyson has been forced to cancel appearances in London for his autobiography after finding out he is banned from entering the UK
Tuesday night's winner-takes-all Champions League encounter between Galatasaray and Juventus was abandoned after only 33 minutes with the game goalless due to a severe hailstorm in Istanbul
What is still at stake and all the Champions League group stage permutations, including Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City
The heavy weight of expectation rests uneasily on the broad shoulders of several British boxers at the moment, writes ESPN's Steve Bunce
Phil Taylor is gunning for a 17th World Championship crown, but the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis will be out to deny him success at the Alexandra Palace
The name Alf-Inge Haaland will forever be associated with the Manchester derby, and a certain Mr Roy Keane
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner