That dictum about defence is the mo' />

If the Springboks had another inscription stitched on to their test jerseys it would be "thou shalt not pass".

That dictum about defence is the motto on which they have based their rugby in the Tri-Nations, an unbending attitude to halt attacks or risk denting their national dignity.

It is a code which has them on the cusp of retaining their Tri-Nations title if they can defeat the All Blacks on Saturday for the first time at Carisbrook.

After several previous cluttered regimes, new coach Jake White has redesigned the Springbok's defensive systems to inspire a successful mentality.

In the one forced change after wing Breyton Paulse's ban for kicking, defensive dynamo de Wet Barry has been restored to the midfield with the utility skills of Jean de Villiers shifted to the right wing.

If anything that selection will increase the pressure on the All Black midfield where the Boks will use Barry's hits and aggressive tackling to try to disrupt New Zealand's attacking rhythm.

"What we've lost with Breyton in terms of experience and 50 test caps, the most senior back is de Wet Barry who has 35 test caps and I felt his experience would be needed in a game like this," White said.

South Africa made a mess of the All Blacks' attack in Christchurch last year choking it with their rush defence until they escaped with victory through a late Doug Howlett try. But the pattern continued at Johannesburg and then Cape Town this year with the Boks winning both tests.

"It suits our national psyche the way we defend," White said yesterday.

"I read a lot about New Zealand and the whole sort of confrontational setup and that is something you guys pride yourselves on and we pride ourselves on defence.

"So what we have done is build a defensive pattern that complements the way we want to play rugby. It was difficult when I introduced it at the beginning because the guys were out of their comfort zone from what they knew.

"But once they accepted it and tried it they started realising it suited them."

White has found considerable success with his methods in under-21 rugby, as technical assistant to Nick Mallett before winning the 2004 Tri-Nations title in his first season as national coach.

The 41-year-old White has brought through to the senior ranks a number of players he had at age-group level, players who are used to his methods.

"The inspiration I get for it [defence] is that it is comfortable for the way we want to play," he said.

Where once there could be confusion repelling multi-phase plays if backs and forwards were mixed up in the defensive line, the Springboks did not feel as exposed as they used to with other styles.

Had he flummoxed the All Blacks and Wallabies with the rush defence?

White was reluctant to go that far but he felt he had discovered a way to harness the South Africans' temperament and make his rivals struggle.

"When you want to be a leader in any code you've got to come up with something which is unique, otherwise you are all the same," he said.

Like any system, the Springboks had to adhere to certain principles, otherwise there would be mistakes and then doubt would infiltrate the team.

White had no qualms about Barry reasserting himself after five weeks out of the side.

"He is not stupid. Any international sportsman will tell you, any rugby player who has played for New Zealand or South Africa knows when the door is closing and he can see that Jean de Villiers has added something, so he knows it will be a big game for him," said White.

One area where White wants an improvement from his side is to be as ruthless with possession as they have been on defence. He agreed that South Africa waited patiently for turnovers but were not as patient or composed when they were going through their attacking moves.

* Dunedin, 7.35pm Saturday

All Blacks

Mils Muliaina, Rico Gear, Tana Umaga (c), Aaron Mauger, Joe Rokocoko, Leon MacDonald, Piri Weepu, Rodney So'oialo, Richie McCaw, Jerry Collins, Ali Williams, Chris Jack, Carl Hayman, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock

South Africa

P. Montgomery, Jean de Villiers, Jacque Fourie, De Wet Barry, Bryan Habana, Andre Pretorius, Enrico Januarie, Joe van Niekerk, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, CJ van der Linde, John Smit (c), Os du Randt,


All Blacks: Derren Witcombe, Greg Somerville, James Ryan, Sione Lauaki, Kevin Senio, Luke McAlister, Doug Howlett.

South Africa: Hanyani Shimage, Eddie Andrews, Albert van den Berg, Jacques Cronje, Fourie du Preez, Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Marius Joubert.