Smit predicts Bok backlash
September 10, 2009

John Smit has taken great heart from the way in which his Springboks reacted to last weekend's defeat by the Wallabies and is expecting them to bounce back with a win over the All Blacks in Hamilton this weekend.

The South Africans could have clinched the Tri-Nations title in Brisbane but came out on the wrong side of a 21-6 beating after a strangely lacklustre display. The performance came as much as a shock to the players as it did the watching world, according to Smit, but he is anticipating a backlash in their pivotal clash with New Zealand.

"This team has amazingly high standards and, even though it was just one loss, it was taken really seriously," the South Africa captain said. "I've seen a huge turnaround in the players this week to rectify things quickly. We really want to win the trophy in style and follow through on Dunedin last year."

The Springboks' win in Dunedin snapped a ten-game losing streak on New Zealand soil and represents one of the most significant achievements of Smit's long and illustrious career. However, he is quick to concede that Saturday's game, from which the world champions need a point to clinch the Tri-Nations title, will supersede everything that has gone before.

"The oldest cliche is that we treat every Test in the same way but we can't kid ourselves that this is just another Test," he admitted. "The point we need does change things. What is at stake doubles the pressure and we have to finish it off now.

"And as much as last weekend's defeat to the Wallabies was a slip-up, we take a lot of confidence from how we have played in this competition. We have scored the most points at home and the most points away. Now we must administer the final blow."


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