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De Villiers draws positives

South Africa coach Peter De Villiers was pleased with the commitment his second-string side produced in their 26-20 defeat by the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Drew Mitchell grabbed two opportunist first-half tries for the Barbarians as the Springboks, fielding only three of the side who started last weekend's 21-11 victory over England at the same venue, were run off their feet in the first half as the all-star Baa Baas turned on the style. De Villers retained only winger Lwazi Mvovo, scorer of the second Springbok try which sealed England's fate, lock Bakkies Botha and flanker Juan Smith, who led the side in the absence of the injured Victor Matfield.

"We lost the game but we won a lot in other respects," he said. "It wasn't a Test match but it was a test to see how good we really are with our youngsters and our depth."

He added: "We are really very happy where we stand.

"We had two regular starters in the team and to come back against these world stars they made a lot of yardage.

"They were very big-eyed and disjointed in the first half. Everybody wanted to show what they could do and the team didn't peform as a unit.

"But we talked at half-time and they pulled it together. Our youngsters did very well."

Skipper Juan Smith said: "Our set-piece wasn't that great. We didn't keep to our structure and that's what you have to do against the Barbarians."

Barbarians coach Nick Mallett relished the victory over the nation he led between 1997 and 2000.

"It's a strange feeling when you hear the national anthem of the team you've coached but I take my hat off to these guys," said Mallett, who is also the national coach of Italy. "The first 30 minutes was some of the best rugby I've seen in the November Tests. We cut South Africa to pieces in the first half-hour and left a couple more tries out there. We got some great ball in the first half but then South Africa put us under pressure in the second."


From Belfast Telegraph