AFTER a ragged victory in Wales last week, there was a lot more to be pleased about yesterday for Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer.
From disrupting Scotland in the lineout, to being ruthless in punishing the home team’s mistakes, to defending till the end with great organisation and defiance: more or less everything went right for the South Africans, and he was not about to underplay their 28-0 win by emphasising Scotland’s failings.
“I’m very, very proud of the guys,” Meyer said. “I’m very happy with the consistency and really focused on next week [when they play France in the final game of their tour]. We’re undefeated in two away tours, but, saying that, we need to keep our feet on the ground. Every single Test match is a new start and a new challenge. To sum up, I’m very happy with the way the team is progressing – winning matches and playing some great rugby. We have an excellent spirit, a lot of respect for each other, and Jean [de Villiers] is an excellent captain.”
“I’m very thankful and grateful for the win. There were a lot of pleasing moments. We asked the guys for a clinical performance. We thought it was going to be wet. I thought we played some great rugby – we really took the right options at the right times.
“I was very happy with that great try we scored right from the kick-off. It just shows you can play that type of rugby in these conditions.
“You’ll always take four tries to nought in Test-match rugby. The great thing from here is we wanted to work hard on our defence. Last week was awesome – we didn’t give away any tries – and today as well, we didn’t give them any points, which I’m very happy with. Specially at the end, when we had 14 men, and there was a back-line play on that scrum.
“That’s what I like about this team. They don’t want to give points away. They put their bodies on the line. So I’m very, very happy with the defensive effort as well.” Asked if he had expected more from Scotland, Meyer insisted on praising his hosts. “Listen, you always know what to expect from Scotland. They’re very physical, they kept on going. We had to work hard to stop their drives. They’re very physical, very good at the breakdown.
“But it’s more of a question of focusing on our game. I really thought we made a big step up, especially in these conditions.
“The rain in the second half was a wee bit more difficult, but we need to play in these conditions – the World Cup is going to be in similar conditions. But they’re still a quality side.”
Of the injuries sustained by the Springboks, the most serious looked like the blow to the neck that saw Francois Louw carried off. But Meyer said the initial prognosis was positive, and that the use of a stretcher had been only precautionary.