De Villiers downcast after Springbok humbling

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Springboks coach Allister Coetzee may have been able to find some positives from South Africa's drubbing at the hands of New Zealand but former skipper Jean de Villiers was less impressed.

Coetzee's side travelled to Albany unbeaten in 2017 and growing in confidence thanks to two victories over Argentina in the Rugby Championship.

However, they were quickly brought back down to earth as the All Blacks ran riot on Saturday, the world champions cruising to a 57-0 triumph.

It was a humbling that could have easily brought stinging criticism from Coetzee, but he chose to praise some aspects of the Springboks' performance, including their defensive effort.

De Villiers was less enthused, though, and suggested the display emphasised the work still to be done by Coetzee and his squad.

"We all thought last year losing to New Zealand by 42 points was a low point and we didn't think it could get worse. It did today," he told SuperSport. 

"It is very difficult to find something positive to say about this game.

"We need to be honest with ourselves, we got outplayed in every single department of this game and were beaten by a much better team.

"When you talk about the improvement of the South African side, yes they have improved, but when they compare themselves to the best in the world there is still a massive gap."

Meanwhile, former Springboks coach Nick Mallett launched a more scathing attack on the national side.

"Criticising this Bok team is like clubbing a baby seal. The poor guys are defenceless," he said.

"The scrums were a shambles in the second half, the lineouts didn't go well in the first half. The replacements didn't make an impact. The scramble defence was nowhere. The first-up defence got worse and worse as the game progressed.

"There isn't enough leadership in this team at the moment and certainly not enough skills. Not one Springbok would make the All Blacks side."