South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer believes his side’s victory over Wales proved they will be serious contenders at the next World Cup, and his side will be looking to underline their credentials again when they face Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.
Scorers: Wales: Pens: Halfpenny 5. South Africa: Tries: de Villiers, du Plessis, du Preez. Cons: Steyn 2, Lambie. Pens: Steyn.
The Springboks registered their 25th victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium, triumphing by three tries to nil as captain Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis and Fourie du Preez all crossed. The recent Rugby Championship suggested Meyer’s men are the only side who look capable of challenging world champions New Zealand, having pushed them all the way in the recent title decider.
Meyer’s side have added a cutting edge in attack to their typical physical, direct approach and he feels the ability to adapt their game to different conditions will be a real asset when England host the 2015 World Cup in two years’ time.
“This was a totally different game. It’s not like playing in the Rugby Championship. You cannot play off scrums, you don’t get any quick ball,” he said. “We are starting to adapt, we knew this would be physical and we know [Wales] are a quality side as they showed in the Lions series where most of their players were involved. So I knew this would be a totally different challenge and we had to be astute tactically. It was a great win, scoring three tries against a team with an unbelievable attack themselves.
“We know the World Cup will be in these conditions so we always have that in the back of our minds and we have shown a balance. We can score tries but we can also out-muscle teams.”
The Springboks now move on to face Scotland, before a meeting with France in Paris. Morne Steyn will be assessed this week after a back spasm forced him off in Cardiff, but despite his side being involved in a savage Test match against the Six Nations champions, Meyer will not make changes for the sake of it. “I don’t believe in resting at international level,” he said. “There is rest at home or in other competitions. But we do want to manage the guys, and I use the word ‘manage’ because it has been a long season.
“It’s a five-day turnaround from our game against Scotland to our game against France and so we need to take calculated risks and make sure guys are 100 per cent against Scotland and 100 per cent ready and fit to face France. But I won’t be giving away caps, if guys are there they deserve it and we will give guys a chance and give some guys a mental break. We have played Scotland a few times so we know it is going to be tough but I am confident in these players and they can’t wait to go.”
Wales: Halfpenny, North, J. Davies, S. Williams, L. Williams, Priestland, M. Phillips, Jenkins, Hibbard, A. Jones, B. Davies,
A. Jones, Lydiate, Warburton, Faletau, Andrews. Subs: Beck for J. Davies (13), Hook for L. Williams (13), L. Williams for M. Phillips (73), Owens for Hibbard (64), Andrews for A. Jones (32), Charteris for A. Jones (73), Tipuric for Lydiate (64), James for Andrews (41). Sin Bin: Jenkins (58)..
South Africa: Lambie, Pietersen, Fourie, de Villiers, Habana, Steyn, du Preez, Mtawarira, du Plessis, Malherbe, Etzebeth, van der Merwe, Louw, Alberts, Vermeulen. Subs: le Roux for Steyn (19), Steenkamp for Mtawarira (69), Strauss for du Plessis (67),
Oosthuizen for Malherbe (57), du Toit for Etzebeth (69), Kolisi for Alberts (67). Sin Bin: Louw (37), Oosthuizen (58).
Referee: A Rolland.