Boks 'take it on the chin'
Sun, 25 Aug 2013 08:52
If this had not happened then we would have been in for a big hiding from Australia
Although not happy with his team's performance, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer insists they will be better off for their experience in Mendoza.
The Boks battled to a 22-17 victory over a fired-up Pumas side that put up far more of a fight than they had in Soweto the week before.
However, Meyer was adamant that despite their lacklustre display away from home the Boks learned some valuable lessons that will stand them in good stead on their upcoming trip to Australasia.
"I am obviously not happy, it was not good enough. If you look in the changeroom the guys are not happy and if you are not happy with a win by five points that is a sign of a team that is on the up.
"We have won eight on the bounce now and this was our first away win in three years in the Rugby Championship and it is also four away games on the trot," The Bok coach pointed out.
Meyer admitted that his side were caught on the back foot in the first half, but added that he was pleased with the character they showed to keep the home side scoreless in the second half and grind out the win.
"We knew they were going to go back to their style of play and I wasn't happy with the first half because we were not there physically and mentally.
"There were some harsh words at half-time and I though our captain was brilliant and they didn't score a point in the second half.
"Last year in our first game we got four points and this year we got five, last year in Argentina we got two points and although we didn't play well today we got four," he said.
Meyer said that after their romp in Soweto last week it was always going to be tough for his side to maintain that dominance over a proud Pumas side looking for a big response on home soil.
"You are always in a lose-lose situation if you win by 70 points and travel away from home because people expect you to put another 50 on and we knew that they would be highly motivated and obviously you take your foot off the pedal but that is no excuse.
"After half-time they didn't get any points and we started to play great rugby and get go-forward.
"Obviously you have to go back to the drawing board and there are a lot of things that we didn't know about which we have to improve on.
"You always take a step backwards to take two steps forward so we will learn from this. I think tight away games are tough and there is a lot of travel but we don't need to make excuses we must just learn from what we have done and go and win against Australia and New Zealand," he said.
Meyer said that his side will now be far better prepared for what awaits them in Australia as they look to continue their unbeaten start to the tournament.
"I am not happy but I think it is great that it happened now, especially as we have got three games on the trot. I believe if this had not happened then we would have been in for a big hiding from Australia.
"We will take it on the chin, and we have to work harder and keep our feet on the ground but we are looking forward to Australia.
"I believe that if we had played open rugby and scored a lot of tries we wouldn't have learned anything from this and we genuinely would have struggled against Australia.
"It is still going to be tough against Australia and this is one of those games where you take the points and focus on the next one. We don't have any excuses we just have to play better," he said.
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