de Villiers confident Springboks will bounce back for milestone Test

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De Villiers said he liked the way Siya Kolisi's side didn't rest on their laurels.

 

He wrote in his South Africa Rugby magazine column, "They've won the Rugby Championship and the World Cup [in 2019]. More recently, they beat the British & Irish Lions in a fiercely contested series.

 

"Now, they are looking to the next challenge, which is the Rugby Championship, and a couple of big matches against the All Blacks."

 

Covid-19 meant the Springboks were down on Test play compared to the All Blacks. They played no Test rugby in 2020 and had reduced time to prepare for this year's Fortinet Rugby Championship in Australia.

 

"That said, they should have some momentum after beating the Lions and will know that their gameplan – when executred correctly – is very hard to match," he said.

 

"I'm looking forward to the coming clashes…the Boks and the All Blacks haven't met since the 2019 World Cup. The All Blacks may feel they have a point to prove when they meet the world champions.

 

 

"On the other hand, the Boks will remember what it felt like to lose to the All Blacks during the pool stage of that global tournament in Japan. They won't be holding back," he said.

 

De Villiers said while South Africans might love to hate the All Blacks, they did respect them.

 

That was something he felt from the age of five years.

 

"My father Andre played for Western Province in the 1970s and went on to become an administrator. Over a period of 15 years, our house was home to all sorts of visitors from New Zealand when teams toured South Africa,

 

"Fans, administrators and even a few club players ended up staying at our house during that time," he said.

 

Stu Loe, All Black Richard Loe's cousin who went on to play for the Crusaders, was one who stayed with the de Villiers family.

 

"Growing up in a rugby family in Paarl, I had a clear idea about who I wanted to be when I grew up. Every kid in South Africa wants to represent the Springboks. For me, that was the first goal. I was also desperate to play against the All Blacks and to face them at Newlands.

 

"Exposure to all those Kiwis from a young age gave me an idea about the New Zealand culture, and the style of rugby in that part of the world. I couldn't get enough of their stories. I got them to play rugby with me on our front lawn.

 

"It was a different kind of rugby upbringing, yet one that prepared me to embrace the unique rivalry between the Boks and the All Blacks…Growing up alongside so many New Zealanders, I gained a good appreciation for how much the Kiwis respect South African rugby, too," he said.

 

South Africa had gone through a difficult period against the All Blacks, but over the past four years, they had clawed things back to restore some respect to the rivalry.

 

"It's a good thing for the Boks, and for rugby as a whole," de Villiers said.

 

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