After having only themselves to blame for not toppling World Cup champions, New Zealand, in their own back yard in Dunedin last weekend, Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer was disappointed at the wasted opportunities. He was adamant that his team is progressing, the game plan is coming along and that he is looking forward to the two home test matches against Australia in Pretoria and New Zealand in Soweto.
He will announce his squad for those two tests on Saturday after the completion of the weekend’s Absa Currie Cup matches.
They assemble in Johannesburg on Sunday.
It was the right gameplan, but discipline and poor goal kicking cost the Springboks a famous win over the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday, Head Coach Heyneke Meyer said after their 21-11 defeat to New Zealand in The Castle Rugby Championship.
“I am very disappointed at the result. We had the right gameplan, we managed to put them under severe pressure. But you have to convert that pressure into points and if we did that, it would have created even more pressure and help us going forward,” Meyer said.
“The guys really put their bodies on the line and I am very happy and very proud about that. That effort did not show on the scoreboard though and that is not good enough.”
The coach had a week now to gather his thoughts and to look ahead at the remaining two test matches.
He will be very happy with the extra week of rest for his frontline players as injuries have played havoc with his planning.
Both tighthead props, Jannie du Plessis and Pat Cilliers, were battling injury prior to the All Blacks test and it forced the coach to fly in DHL Western Province prop Frans Malherbe as cover.
Du Plessis passed his fitness test and played the whole match, but Cilliers was ruled out to play for the MTN Golden Lions this weekend in the Absa Currie Cup.
Another prop, Dean Greyling, was suspended for two weeks by a Sanzar disciplinary committee after foul play against the All Blacks and will not be considered for next weekend’s match against Australia in Pretoria.
The coach will be able to call on the services of Eben Etzebeth again. He was unavailable for the Dunedin clash after a two week suspension following the Australia match in Perth.
There is also good progress with regards to the injuries of experienced players like JP Pietersen, Bjorn Basson and Chiliboy Ralepelle, while Heinrich Brüssow has proved his fitness while the Bok were away on their overseas leg of The Castle Rugby Championship.
This is certainly good news for the coach who has lost other possible starters like Pierre Spies, Siya Kolisi and Bismarck du Plessis during this competition.
Meyer released five players – Jacques Potgieter, Jano Vermaak (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Craig Burden, Lwazi Mvovo (The Sharks) and Malherbe for Currie Cup duty this weekend and all will be getting valuable game time for their unions.
With regards to the home tests, which Meyer admitted looking forward to the coach indicated some changes to the team might be possible, with injured players coming back into the fray.
“We will look at players coming back, but I feel they (current squad) are improving week after week. I am happy with their guts and what they gave out there.