South Africa captain John Smit and coach Peter de Villiers ended their international careers overseeing a dominant display at the Rugby World Cup.
Unfortunately,the dominance didnt stretch to the scoreboard and their stints ended with an 11-9 quarterfinal defeat to Australia. The defending champions dominated the Wallabies in just about every way on Sunday at Wellington Regional Stadium,but just could not make it count.
The Wallabies next play hosts,the All Blacks,who defeated Argentina 33-10. You are never prepared for when it ends,because you want it to be a fairy tale,you want it to be in a final having won it, said Smit after 111 Tests over 11 years. It hasnt worked out like that.
If he left any kind of legacy,Smit said,he hoped it would be the influence he has exerted over his teammates and the influence theyve had over him. Smit said he hoped that in the future,players might look at challenges facing them and ask Well,what would have Smitty done in this situation?
The pair both showed emotion as they answered questions,but De Villiers managed to show the humour that illuminated his four-year stint in charge. Its not a funeral,eh the ever-sunny De Villiers joked.
A black man coaching in a sport traditionally white in South Africa,De Villiers faced charges throughout his time with the Springboks that his appointment owed more to tokenism than to talent. But he said it had been a brilliant journey to be able to work with people who were so passionate about their country. People who always put their body on the line to try to bring hope for the poor people back at home who dont have the privilege that most of you guys have, De Villiers said. It was really incredible for me all the way.
Drink trouble for All Blacks
All Blacks coach Graham Henry,meanwhile,dismissed reports his team had been drinking in the build-up to Sundays quarter-final,saying he had dealt with it. Oh Ive dealt with that and Ive moved on, Henry said,when asked about a report in the New Zealand Herald which said Cory Jane had been on a drinking binge less than 72 hours before the match.