Friday, January 13, 2006
SA Teams/Unions: De Villiers paints realistic picture
The Southern Spears, South Africa's Super 14 team in waiting, will make their first class debut against the Cheetahs in a pre-season friendly in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. And coach Pieter de Villiers has painted a pretty realistic picture of what the expectations should be.
Sure, some would claim the team's warm-up match against an Eastern Province XV last week was their "debut". But that was no more than a practice run against what amounts to a lowly province's second-string outfit.
Most of Eastern Province's top players play for the Spears anyway.
It is thus not a surprise that the coach, De Villiers, is somewhat apprehensive ahead of Saturday's encounter with the Cheetahs.
The entire country is waiting to see how this collection of youngsters and leftovers from the South Eastern Cape will shape up - especially since the Spears are set to replace the lowest finishing South African team in the Super 14 next year.
"This is a new team," De Villiers told this website. "We are starting from scratch and everybody are uncertain about what the future holds for us.
"So yes, I am just as apprehensive as the rest," De Villiers added.
But what are his goals then for the opening match and the rest of the year ... as they slowly build towards their Super 14 debut in 2007?
"People should not expect too much first up," he said. "We want to build towards next year when we enter the big time.
"But we must also remember that the Cheetahs are not the Currie Cup champions for nothing.
"We don't have unrealistic dreams. We are looking at ways to contain them and how to be competitive.
"Rather than looking at the team and dreaming of victory, I will be realistic and look at how the individuals shape up.
"Maybe we can produce a future Springbok or two from this group.
"If I can produce another 20-odd quality players that can challenge for higher honours and broaden the base from which Jake White can make his Springbok selections in the future I would be happy."
It is obvious that De Villiers feels his team will be entering the "real world" on Saturday.
They want to see where they stand and measure themselves against the top teams in the country.
It will also be a good yardstick for when they play in the Currie Cup later this year.
De Villiers will have a good indication of how much work must be done to get the team competitive.
The most positive aspects for the coach is the passion with which the players are approaching it all and the team spirit.
I like the approach de Villiers is adopting. He seems to have a wise head opon his shoulders - no unrealistic expectations.Post a Comment