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Friday, January 20, 2006


Super 14: De Villiers warns Cats

Despite the initial setback against the Cheetahs, Spears coach Pieter de Villiers is in no mood for capitulation, exhorting his players to work harder and retain the burgeoning team spirit they are developing.

Here he chats to the Dispatch,

De Villiers appeals for teamwork, dedication from Spears


TEAMWORK and sheer dedication. This is what Southern Spears coach believes will conquer the Cats at East London's Absa Stadium tomorrow - while he warns the Gauteng side not to underestimate his team.

The inexperienced Spears team is on a team-building campaign preparing for next year's daunting task in the ultra-competitive Super 14 rugby competition - and the Cats are their next pit stop.

At the team's gruelling training yesterday, De Villiers said he wanted to see his team using tomorrow's game as a stepping stone and producing a much better performance than when they were drubbed 48-0 by the Currie Cup champions Cheetahs in their own backyard in Port Elizabeth last week.

In all fairness, it was the Spears first competitive game in the "big league*.

With his youthful team already being written off by harsh critics, De Villiers believes only the presence of a strong team spirit and sheer dedication can steer his side to victory when they lock horns with the Cats.

The Cats have problems of their own and will arrive in East London this afternoon looking for a positive results.

"Everything we do, we will have to do it as a team. We will have to fight and stand for each other.

"I know that is probably going to take time but we will get there,* De Villiers maintained yesterday.

The tough-talking Spears coach issued a stern warning to the Cats.

"Tomorrow's game is going to be a humdinger.

"No one must expect an easy game. If they underestimate us, they are in for a big surprise,* he said.

The experienced Cats team has obviously been punted by many as hot favourites to whip the unknown Spears team.

"We will have to match them in each and every area. If they come to us fighting, we will have to fight harder,* De Villiers said.

The Spears coach, whose camp has been rocked by injuries including that of captain Ashley Johnson, said he had studied the Cats' game carefully.

"They have a couple of Springboks in their side but I think they are also a bit predictable,* he said.

De Villiers is, however, still harbouring serious reservations about his tight five.

Against the Cheetahs last week, the Spears forwards were badly exposed.

"In any team, you need your forwards to be on top of things.

"We are faced with a challenge to work on our weaknesses.

"We don't have the comfort of time but I'm sure we will get it right very soon,* he said.
These guys need a morale boosting victory.

I doubt it will be against the Cats though.

Still, it is very early days yet. As far as I'm concerned, the real interest lies in when they start their first proper competition.

These early matches are merely about trying to create some shape and form, getting to know each other etc.
Glad to have you back and ticking the articles over Rasputin.

Cheesr, I'm off to look after kiddies etc.
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