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Victory The Only Way Says Under-Fire Skipper

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Fuseworks Media
Victory The Only Way Says Under-Fire Skipper

By Daniel Gilhooly of NZPA

Hamilton, Sept 11 NZPA - Any suggestion the Springboks will simply aim to finish close to the All Blacks has been squashed by captain John Smit ahead of tomorrow night's rugby test.

A losing bonus point for getting within seven points of the hosts at Waikato Stadium may well prove enough for South Africa to claim the Tri-Nations but Smit said his world champion side are all about winning and won't settle for anything less.

Bouncing straight back from their surprise 21-6 loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane is important, Smit said, along with sweeping the All Blacks 3-0 in this year's tests.

"We want to end this in style," he told journalists before the Springboks flew to Hamilton from Australia yesterday.

"There is no thought whatsoever of being content with a bonus point. It is amazing how the standards set by the players themselves are demanding a major reaction after the loss to the Wallabies. We have won a number of big tests this year, so that defeat was taken personally."

Smit even had time to glance ahead, believing a second straight win on New Zealand soil -- they broke an 11-year drought in Dunedin last year -- would have positive psychological implications.

"We regard this match as an opportunity to build on the foundation laid by the victory in Dunedin last year and to put down a marker in New Zealand ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"The oldest cliche in the book is that we treat every test in the same way, but we can't kid ourselves that this is just another test. It isn't. There is so much at stake."

Meanwhile, former hooker Smit shrugged off criticism of his scrummaging last weekend against Australia, believing he was close to maturing as a prop despite being exposed at times by destructive Australian loosehead Benn Robinson.

"I'd be naive if I said it was an easy transition to tighthead, but I'm happy with my progress," Smit said.

"November it will be exactly a year since I moved and I think you can only judge it next year, when my apprenticeship will be over. All I can do is roll with the punches, but I don't believe we've lost any matches because of the scrumming.

"Even though I don't think our scrum has had any effect on our results, it's funny how nobody talks about opposition lineouts faltering against ours."


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