Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de Villiers were both very happy with Saturday’s emphatic 38-12 win over Australia in Brisbane, but said next week’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship match against New Zealand in Auckland will provide an even bigger test for this team.
The Springboks were clinical as they won their first ever match at the Suncorp Stadium, which was also South Africa’s first victory in Brisbane since 1971.
The Boks scored four tries, through Coenie Oosthuizen, Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux and De Villiers, while Morné Steyn added 18 points (four penalty goals and three conversions) in one of the best victories in a long time.
The Wallabies could not cross for one try and only had four Christian Lealiifano penalty goals to show for their efforts. It was the Springboks' biggest ever away win over Australia and the first time in 20 years they kept the home team scoreless on Aussie soil.
Francois Louw, who was named Man of the Match afterwards, walked away with AU$1000 (approximately R10,000) which he could donate to any charity and he chose to donate it to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
“I think tonight we gave the country hope and we showed how great South Africans can be if we all pulled in the same direction,” said Meyer afterwards.
“Before the match, we were written off and it was said that it’s impossible to win here, but our mind-set was one that we can win it. Now we have to keep our feet on the ground, stay humble focus on next week, which is even a bigger challenge.
“I thought our play in the set pieces was great and our defence was very good. We knew if we wanted to win, we would have to make more than 150 tackles, but I’m just happy that we showed our attacking mind-set later in the game as well.
“I’m really very happy with this win and would like to apologise for my behaviour in the coaches box, but I get so passionate about this team. There are still a lot of areas where we can improve and we have lots of hard work ahead next week.”
The ever-impressive De Villiers, who played in his 90th Test and is now the fourth most-capped Springbok ever, said: “For any team to improve, they need to learn from their mistakes and I’m very happy with the way in which we reacted after the match in Mendoza.
“Last year in Perth we were in a similar position, a couple of points ahead in the second half and the Wallabies won. This year we capitalised on our opportunities and pulled it through. It was still not the perfect performance – far from it – but we used our opportunities and scored four tries, so we’re happy.”
On Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after their Brisbane triumph, the Boks landed in Auckland for their next match, this weekend against New Zealand at Eden Park.