De Villiers trusts South Africa to bounce back against All Blacks

Click to follow
The Independent Online

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has promised a sharply improved performance in the second Test against New Zealand tomorrow as his team look to avoid a second successive defeat at the start of their Tri-Nations title defence.

South Africa played poorly in losing 32-12 in last weekend's first test at Eden Park and are out to recapture the form that gave them three wins over the All Blacks in last year's Tri-Nations series. "I trust the bunch of people that are with me, they just weren't on song last weekend," De Villiers said. "These boys are much better than what they showcased on Saturday. They just had a bad game and I expect them to be back to form this weekend."

His captain John Smit agreed. "It won't happen every day that everybody is one per cent off their game and if you are one per cent off against a team like the All Blacks, then you will get hammered," Smit said.

Winger Joe Rokocoko and scrum-half Jimmy Cowan have been ruled out of New Zealand's team for the match in Wellington. Rokocoko has a strained hamstring and is replaced by Rene Ranger, who makes his first start. Cowan, who has an abdominal strain, was named among the reserves, with Piri Weepu given a starting spot.