Rugby Union: South Africa `can still learn' from mighty All Blacks

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The Independent Online
South Africa may be the world champions but they still have plenty to learn from the All Blacks, so their captain, Gary Teichmann, thinks.

While England take on New Zealand at Old Trafford today, South Africa meet France in the second Test in Paris. Even though they beat their southern hemisphere rivals to win the World Cup final in Johannesburg two years ago, Teichmann thinks his side must become more ruthless - just like the Kiwis.

South Africa won the first Test 36-32 in Lyon last weekend, but faded alarmingly in the final 20 minutes as the French fought back and almost stole an unlikely victory.

"We must learn from the All Blacks," Teichmann said. "When you are up like that you've got to be able to finish it all off by putting more points on the board."

Back-to-back Test victories over Italy and France have given the new- look South African team the ideal start to their European tour which sees them take on England, at Twickenham on 29 November, and Scotland, on 6 December at Murrayfield.

Their coach, Nick Mallet,t said: "This team can still improve by 20 or 30 per cent, given time and given the confidence of playing together."

With the wing James Small the only survivor from the South African squad who returned to international rugby in 1992, the Springboks are in a state of flux as Mallett seeks to impose his values on the squad.

Today's match, the last Paris Test to be played in the Parc des Princes before games are transferred to new Stade de France, will be their sternest test yet on a tough five-Test tour.

France are seeking to end a run of four defeats against South Africa, while the Springboks are hampered by injuries to their scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen and their full-back, Justin Swart. Van der Westhuizen has had to return home and will be replaced by Werner Swanepoel, who has never started a Test match before.

France will go into the match with two changes to the side who lost in Lyon. The giant lock Olivier Merle replaces Fabien Pelous, adding power but reducing mobility, with David Venditti coming on to the right wing as a replacement for Laurent Leflamande. Gloucester's Philippe Saint-Andre captains them.