Evolving Boks set their sights higher
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers said that although his team have evolved, they are still some way off reaching their potential.
The Boks demolished the Wallabies 38-12 in Brisbane on Saturday to make it nine wins in a row, and while De Villiers admitted that the four tries to nil victory was satisfying, he still believes that there is a lot of room for improvement.
"It is still not the perfect performance, by quite a long shot I think, but I thought we used our opportunities better and we managed to score four tries so luckily the ball stuck," he said.
The Bok skipper compared his team's results in Argentina and Australia last year with their performances this season, and said that their improvement shows that they are growing as a side.
"For a team to go forward and for a team to evolve you have to learn from your mistakes, and certainly we have shown that we have learnt.
"First of all in Mendoza with the way that we reacted when we were in a similar situation and the same against the Wallabies.
"Last year in Perth we were up by about ten points in the second half and then the Wallabies came back and beat us by seven so we were in the same situation today and we were able to capitalise on our opportunities so the composure was there and the guys did what was needed," explained De Villiers.
The biggest test of just how far the Boks have come still lies in wait for them as they travel to meet the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.
Although South Africa currently sit on top of the Rugby Championship standings with a one-point lead over New Zealand, they lost home and away to the All Blacks last year so they still feel that they have plenty to prove after their crushing win against Australia.
Coach Heyneke Meyer said that whilst the Springboks' first-ever victory in Brisbane was very encouraging, they are aware that the world champions will present an even greater challenge.
"Obviously you build and grow, which I liked – I always want a team that is mentally tough. But sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't so I don't want to look too far down the line.
"We have got some tough games to come and the world champions are waiting so we need to be focused, keep our feet on the ground and focus on the next game," he said.
Meyer's passion and belief in his team is certainly not in question, and he admitted that he does let himself get slightly carried away in the heat of the moment.
"I want to apologise for my behaviour in the box, I just get so passionate about my team. It is going to sound arrogant and it is always easier after a win but I really believe in this team and believe we are growing as a team," he said.
He added that while the win in Brisbane was one of the best moments of his career, his focus is firmly on the clash with the All Blacks at Eden Park.
"I have had some great wins in my career but I really want to win next week. I probably don't enjoy stuff that much. As a coach this is past and you are already thinking about the next game," he said.