Rugby: De Villiers hails history-making Springboks

DURBAN - South Africa coach Peter De Villiers admitted it was a great honour to make history after his side beat New Zealand in successive tests at home for the first time in 33 years.

The Springboks ran out 31-19 winners, following on from last week's victory in Bloemfontein, and De Villiers was pleased with the way his side dealt with early pressure from the visiting side.

"We're all part of history in this country and we always knew the All Blacks would come out all guns blazing," De Villiers said.

"They had a very good start and we were under pressure at times there, but then the character of the side came out on top.

"They were led by a brilliant captain and then everybody just followed through. So I think that's the one thing that stands out for me more than anything else."

South Africa first five-eighth Morne Steyn set a new Tri-Nations record by scoring all 31 points, eclipsing the 10-year record of All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens by two points.

On a memorable night, tighthead prop John Smit became the most capped test captain after leading out the world champions for the 60th time.

Smit admitted that the focus was to repeat the intensity displayed during their opening success in Bloemfontein last Sunday.

"Our biggest task was just to make sure we brought what we did last week and we managed to do that and do what was necessary," Smit reflected.

"We played clever footy for the last part of the game and piled the pressure on, so we're pretty happy with the result."

New Zealand coach Graham Henry gave credit to the home side for another commanding victory, which left the All Blacks with just one win from three Tri-Nations matches.

"I thought the South Africans played outstandingly well," Henry said.

"I'd like to congratulate Peter and John and the team. I thought they were excellent - better than last week, which made it difficult."

However, Henry also felt that the number of mistakes his side made in difficult conditions were equally to blame for the margin of defeat.

"If we had taken some of the opportunities we created it may have been a bit closer and a better contest," he admitted.

"We didn't execute as well as we'd hoped but I think that's a sign of pressure. Obviously, we've got to work on that and make sure we improve our execution as the season goes on."

- AFP

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