South Africa must make better use of possession and territory when they face Australia in their penultimate Rugby Championship match at Newlands this afternoon, according to captain Jean de Villiers.
e Villiers lamented his side's inability to take their chances in successive narrow defeats in Australia and New Zealand earlier in the competition that leaves their title hopes hanging by a thread.
South Africa were able to put their opponents under pressure in their own 22 but battled to turn those opportunities into points.
"We would like to capitalise more, it is not about time spent in your opponents half, it's what you do with that possession," De Villiers said yesterday.
"The last six minutes against the All Blacks we were in their 22, but could not capitalise on it. For us it's about assessing the situation, getting ball into space and making the right decisions, and that is what we want to see tomorrow."
South Africa would be top of the Championship table had they pulled off those victories on the road but instead trail leaders New Zealand by six points.
"It's frustrating, we have tried to take the positives out of it, look at the games, break them down, see what can we change, what can we do better. The margins were just so small in those Tests," said De Villiers. "Now we must make sure we don't make the same mistakes again. We know what our strengths are and we need to play for that."
As has been the talk all week from both camps, De Villiers expects the teams to try and run the ball, especially as they each need a bonus-point win to retain their Championship chances. After playing their last three games in the wet, De Villiers hopes the Cape Town weather gods smile.
"It will be nice if it's dry, you always want the ball to be dry so you can throw it about a bit," he said. "Having said that, Newlands can get slippery in the evening."
The Bok captain will be playing his 101st Test alongside rookie blindside flank Teboho 'Oupa' Mohoje, who will be making his first start. De Villiers dismissed suggestions in the South African media that Mohoje, picked ahead of veteran Schalk Burger, was not there on merit.
"He is an unbelievable guy, a great rugby player and he fully deserves his place in the side," De Villiers said. "We are way past the days of judging players by their colour, we treat each other with respect. We play for each other and care for each other as a team."
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