South Africa v Italy, East London, June 26
De Villiers demands more from Springboks
June 21, 2010
Springboks captain John Smit rallies his side, New Zealand v South Africa, Tri-Nations, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, September 12, 2009
John Smit has returned to the Springbok squad © Getty Images

South Africa coach Peter De Villiers has demanded more from his side when they take on Italy in East London on Saturday, with his plans for the Tri-Nations "75%" complete.

The Springboks were underwhelming in defeating the Azzurri 29-13 in Witbank last weekend but De Villiers has seen enough to confirm the majority of his squad prior to the defence of their southern hemisphere crown, which begins against New Zealand in Auckland on July 10.

"We allowed silly mistakes to creep into our game last week. This was due to a lack of concentration and we have to rectify that," he said. "This week is the last of four weeks that we have had to prepare and at this stage I am 75% sure on who will go on the Tri-Nations tour.

"This is the last piece of the puzzle, which we hope will fall into place for us to be ready for the Tri-Nations. We have had the best of both worlds as we have been given opportunities to experiment and manage the players ahead of the Tri-Nations."

De Villiers has taken the opportunity to rest veteran lock Victor Matfield this weekend and has also chosen to travel without back-row Ryan Kankowski, locks Flip van der Merwe and Alistair Hargreaves, hooker Bandise Maku and wing Bjorn Basson.

Supplementing these players in the squad however are fit again skipper John Smit and flanker Schalk Burger. Also returning are locks Andries Bekker and Danie Rossouw and centre duo Wynand Olivier and Jaque Fourie, all of whom were rested last weekend.

"Victor has played a lot of rugby so far this season and needs a break after we had to call him into the team at short notice for the Welsh Test," De Villiers said. "We have three world class locks in the squad and two youngsters coming in which is a good space to be in. Our plans to manage the players properly have worked well."


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