Boks scrum down

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - 17 June 2008, Peter de Villiers talking to Victor Matfield during the Springboks training session held at Hamiltons Rugby Club in Cape Town, South Africa.\nPhoto by Gallo Images\n\nTALL ORDER: Springboks coach Peter de Villiers talks to Victor Matfield during a training session held at Hamiltons Rugby Club in Cape Town recently. page46, sow 25/06/08.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - 17 June 2008, Peter de Villiers talking to Victor Matfield during the Springboks training session held at Hamiltons Rugby Club in Cape Town, South Africa.\nPhoto by Gallo Images\n\nTALL ORDER: Springboks coach Peter de Villiers talks to Victor Matfield during a training session held at Hamiltons Rugby Club in Cape Town recently. page46, sow 25/06/08.

Having enjoyed a winning start to his term as South Africa coach, Peter de Villiers now turns his attention to the Tri-Nations and the challenge of facing New Zealand and Australia.

Having enjoyed a winning start to his term as South Africa coach, Peter de Villiers now turns his attention to the Tri-Nations and the challenge of facing New Zealand and Australia.

De Villiers took over the Springbok coaching job from World Cup winning coach Jake White in January and, with the nucleus of that team still in place, led the Boks to victories over Wales and Italy in the past three weeks.

De Villiers put his faith in World Cup captain John Smit as well as overseas-based stalwarts Butch James, Victor Matfield and Percy Montgomery as he relied heavily on the players White had built into the world's best team lat year.

He added his own touch by selecting a number of players who shone in the southern hemisphere's Super 14 competition.

It's a three out of three start for De Villiers, who has been punting an expansive new-look game plan.

New Zealand, whom the Boks face in Wellington on July 5 and in Dunedin a week later, will pose a much stiffer challenge for De Villiers than Wales and Italy did.

Even Australia, now under the guidance of former Canterbury Crusaders coach Robbie Deans, will be difficult opponents in Perth on July 19.

New Zealand are coming off comfortable wins over Ireland and England, while Australia have only played once this season, against Ireland, winning the match without too many problems.

Counting in favour of the Boks, who haven't won in New Zealand in 10 years, is the fact De Villiers will, to a large extent, have his full squad available for the clash.

While scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and centre Jaques Fourie are still some way off returning to action, flanker Schalk Burger is back to full fitness, and captain Smit and Montgomery, who returned to France last week to play for Clermont and Perpignan respectively in the Top 14 semifinals, will be back for the Boks in New Zealand.

The same cannot be said of All Blacks coach Graham Henry, who lost captain Richie McCaw to injury at the weekend, while a few other players are also nursing injuries.

The Boks, after a good start to the season and buoyed by their World Cup triumph just a few months ago, will fancy their chances in Australasia next month. -Sapa-AFP

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