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Smit looks to build on victory

John Smit insists South Africa are still "a long way off" the team they want to be as they prepare for their final home Test of the season against Australia in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

After the highs of 2009 when a series victory over the British and Irish Lions was followed by the Tri-Nations crown, the world champions failed to match those standards in 2010. They started well enough with victories against Wales in Cardiff and then beat France and Italy twice, but after a run of four straight defeats - three to New Zealand and one to the Wallabies - the knives were out for Smit and his team.

The sequence was ended last week with a 44-31 triumph over the Australians in Pretoria, and the Springbok captain said: "We will certainly use that to build on. It's a long way off from where we need to be but at least there's a win under our belts."

He added: "If we think we have turned the corner we (now) need to be able to open up on the straight and that will only be evident if we can follow through on that on Saturday.

"Since our return from overseas we have been concentrating on what we can control, which is our game - our set pieces, what we do in general play, how we kick and whether we kick to give it away or to get it back.

"When you have a bad run of results you have to go back and touch on your basics and get them back to where they belong."

The starting XV for the clash at Vodacom Park sees just one change made by coach Peter de Villiers with veteran lock Danie Rossouw swapping places with rookie Flip van der Merwe, who drops to the bench.

Also amongst the replacements, Bath fly-half Butch James has a shoulder injury and misses out to Gio Aplon.


From Belfast Telegraph