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Boks demand very high standards

Team captain Jean De Villiers says his team demands a high standard ahead of their game against Italy.

Jean de Villiers tries to score a try and avoids a tacke by England’s Mike Brown during the 1st match between South Africa and England at Kings Park Stadium on 9 June. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Springbok Captain Jean De Villiers said on Friday that he feels his team were a better side than results in 2012 and said this year they'll prove it.

De Villiers took over the job as team captain exactly a year ago, in Durban, when Heyneke Meyer has initially asked him to take on the roll in the three match series against England.

The Springboks won two and drew one game in that three match series.

On Saturday take on Italy with a settled pack and exciting, in-form backline.

De Villiers said that the standards they're demanding of themselves are very high.

"To be a leader for this team is fantastic and it's just important for us to take it to the next level this year and take a step up. I believe that we're much better than the 7 out of 12 we got last year and I think a lot of lessons have been learned. We're definitely much better prepared this time around."

He recalled the day Meyer asked him to be the Springbok captain.

"When I sit down and I think back - a year back - at the same hotel I got the question from Heyneke: 'would you like to captain the Boks?' and he said I can think about it for a day or two and give him and answer. I said I don't need time for that and I still feel the same way."

De Villiers said he was surprised by Italy's selection for the game, in particular that of 33-year-old debutant flyhalf Alessandro di Bernardo.

"I must be honest; I don't know much about him but having seen the results this year and how well they've done we'll definitely be analysing a lot more."

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