The Springboks’ bruising and tense victory over Samoa was the ideal preparation for the quarter final stages of the Rugby World Cup, said coach Peter de Villiers on Friday.
The Boks recorded a hard-fought 13-5 win over Samoa to notch up a fourth successive victory in their pool, and ensure qualification for the quarterfinals in Wellington on Sunday. They will play the runners-up in the Pool featuring Ireland and Australia.
The Boks became the second team - after New Zealand – to confirm their place in the play offs on the back of another clinical defensive effort and some accurate goalkicking from Morne and Frans Steyn.
Frans Steyn kicked a long range penalty while Morne kicked five points to take his personal career tally beyond 400 points in Tests. He kicked a penalty and converted the second try in as many matches from Bryan Habana.
Samoa’s scoring was limited to a second half try by No 8 George Stowers.
“This was the ideal preparation for the next stage of the competition,” said De Villiers. “It was a tough, physical match and we were really tested by a very good Samoan side. People still underestimate them but let me tell you, this is a very good team.
“They beat the Tri-Nations champions in July and have a lot of experience as well as the benefit of coming together two months before the tournament. They almost beat a very good Welsh side that came very close against us. They cannot be compared with previous Samoan sides.
“This was called the group of death for good reason and we have survived it by winning all four of our games so we’re ready to go to the next level. We never came here to defend the World title; we came here to compete. The team that won the cup four years ago may have a lot of the same names but it's not the same team – we have to work hard to be champions again.”
Springbok captain Victor Matfield said that he expected a different match, should the Boks face Australia in the quarterfinals. "Australia are very different and ask different questions, but we believe in our systems and we work hard on them and I think they work.
“We held Samoa to just one score, which is a credit to our commitment and the system as well as our discipline. Samoa had nothing to lose and came at us very hard. I was very happy with our discipline that we stayed out of it [niggling]. I’m proud of our boys that they kept their heads.
“But it was a very physical game and we might need a few days to recover."