South Africa 42-17 France, Cape Town, June 12
De Villiers hails power-packed Boks
June 12, 2010
South Africa's Gio Aplon grabbed two tries in only his second Test appearance © Getty Images
South Africa coach Peter de Villiers was full of praise for his side following their impressive 42-17 victory over France at Newlands in Cape Town.
The Tri-Nations champions accounted for this year's Six Nations winners with alarming ease to end a losing run at the hands of Les Bleus dating back to 2005. Winger Gio Aplon scored two tries in only his second Test with No.8 Pierre Spies, prop Gurthro Steenkamp and flanker Francois Louw also crossing while fly-half Morne Steyn kicked 15 points.
De Villiers was especially pleased with his team's powerful start that saw them race to a 17-0 after just ten minutes and delighted in the strength in depth within the squad.
"The last two years everyone had something to say about our scrums, but we brought Os du Randt in to work on that aspect and I could see the players believing in themselves again," said De Villiers. "Today was the first time in two years we could make any replacements without doubting any of them. Everyone came on and we did not miss a beat - that is part of our preparation and I'm very proud of the guys," he said.
"I'm very happy with all our new players like Gio (Aplon), Francois Louw, Juan de Jongh and the others. All had a very good Vodacom Super 14 and they showed guts out there. I always believed they could make it."
Captain John Smit, who made way in the second half having tweaked a hamstring, was also pleased to return to winning ways against their European rivals. "It was an important week for us to get the result - two good teams were on display today and the game between the Vodacom Tri-Nations and Six Nations champs were quite hyped up," Smit said.
"Our mental preparation this week was paramount and I think we did very well. We also had a lot of distractions this week - I was still getting my hamstring strapped five minutes before the game - but it went well and I think we did the basics really well. We showed intent from the beginning and I thought we were very direct and accurate. Those two early tries set the tone - being 14-0 down is very difficult to come back from."
France coach Marc Lievremont blamed his side's slow start for their heavy result, commenting, "It's very difficult to find words to describe this match because we came with great intentions but things didn't go as planned. We had difficulty this week in preparing our team and we aren't going to hide behind the fact that the (soccer) World Cup did not make things easy.
"We are as physical as we should be at this level but the South Africans are opportunistic and the moment you make a mistake you're done for. And when you make those mistakes in the first fifteen minutes you can't come back."