Meyer: We never panicked
16 Jun 2012
Heyneke Meyer says the lessons learned in the Springboks’ inconsistent yet winning performance at Ellis Park will prove valuable in the long run.
Saturday’s result marked the Boks’ second win under Meyer, and ensured South Africa clinched the three-Test series. Meyer was understandably pleased with the fact, but admitted there were aspects of the Bok showing that were disappointing.
A spirited fightback saw England reducing what was at one stage a massive deficit. The game was in the balance until the 74th minute when JP Pietersen scored to restore the Boks’ healthy advantage.
Meyer said that several injuries contributed to the Boks’ loss of momentum in the second half. Willem Alberts (knee), Pat Lambie (ankle) and Juandré Kruger (neck) all left the field in the second stanza and according to Meyer this led to a disruption within the team.
The Bok coach did, however, praise his charges for overcoming the loss of these players and striking back to ultimately win the game and the series.
‘Take nothing away from England, but those injuries did effect us,’ Meyer said. ‘It was important that we went through that, we have to learn from it.
‘Test rugby is not Super Rugby. I think we played Super Rugby in the first half, but we were never going to be able to sustain that for 80 minutes. Sometimes you have to go through patches like that [in the second half], you have to learn to grind it out.
‘What was great to see is that the panic didn’t set in. I felt Jean [de Villiers, Bok captain] did very well, it wasn’t easy.’
The injured players will be assessed in the next 48 hours but Kruger is clearly the biggest concern. The Bok No 5 left the field on a stretcher and was subsequently taken to hospital for further tests.
Meyer said he would consider the availability of certain players, as well as a few other factors, before picking his team for the final Test in Port Elizabeth.
‘We want to win every Test and I will never give the jersey away cheaply,’ he explained. ‘However, there were a lot of fatigued players out there, they have played a lot of rugby this year and we have to take that into account. We want to a give a few other guys in the squad a chance. But at the same time, we want to build some continuity. There is a fine line.
‘We played some excellent rugby in the first half and we need to build on that, we need some continuity going into the Rugby Championship. So the selection [for that third match] isn’t going to be easy for me.’
Meyer added that he always expected England to push the Boks close, and is bracing himself for another tough encounter net week. He intimated that England won’t be easier to beat now that the series is a dead rubber.
‘England are a side that never say die. I had watched them in the Six Nations. They won in France and I knew they had the ability to win big games away from home.
‘It took a lot of guts to fight back tonight. You can’t coach that. They are a side that is always going to be hard to put away.’
By Jon Cardinelli, in Johannesburg