Expansive Boks will take 'ugly' win

Wed, 11 Sep 2013 07:44
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South Africa would like to continue evolving their expansive game, but this week even the ugliest win in history will do.

South Africa would like to continue evolving their expansive game, but this week even the ugliest win in history will do.

This is the view of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, ahead of his team's crucial Rugby Championship encounter with their arch rivals, New Zealand, in Auckland on Saturday.

Meyer, addressing the media after naming an unchanged team for the Eden Park crunch, admitted that winning will take precedence over entertainment as the two arch rivals go head-to-head in a match that could see the Boks overtake the Kiwis at the top of the world rankings.

All Black flyhalf Dan Carter was this week leading the Kiwi choir singing the Bok praises, suggesting this is the "most expansive" he has seen the Boks play.

Meyer, while appreciating the praise, cautioned that not every Test will be a try feast.

"I've always liked Dan Carter, I would like him to say that to the South African public," the Bok coach quipped.

"I always get criticized for playing a boring game, so that is great to hear," Meyer said, adding: "I am really happy my team is scoring tries and we have scored the most tries [in the competition] till now."

He added that the All Blacks remain a quality side that also score plenty of tries.

Meyer said one of the reasons the Boks are scoring more five-pointers - 30 tries in six games, with just one match producing less than three - is because it is their second year together and the players now know now what to expect.

"Our backs have been exciting and that is something I am really proud about," the Bok mentor told a media scrum in Auckland, adding: "However, it still starts up front, where you have to win quality ball and put the opposition under pressure."

Despite all the talk of the new expansive Boks, Meyer said that on Saturday he will take a one-point win.

"I will take the ugliest win in the history of the game, as long as we can win," the coach said, adding that it is flattering that the compliments are coming from the All Blacks.

"Yes, we want to work on that [our attacking game], but Test matches are about taking your opportunities and absorbing the pressure.

"When we set out we wanted to play the game a certain way and obviously you have to score tries if you want to win."

Meyer said that whenever he coaches it is more or less the same game plan.

"Sooner or later you start to score tries if the guys get together and take their opportunities.

"However, it is all about pressure and how you handle the pressure.

"We want to score tries on Saturday, but we realise it will be tough.

"Yes, we want to play a total game and we have a very well-balanced side now - a lot of the backs are really exciting [players] and I am happy with the way we are going. But we still have to take it game-by-game.

"This year we started off well and scored a lot of tries and we [now] have some sort of continuity. Suddenly there is no pressure for not scoring tries like last year, when we were under pressure from the outset.

"But, in saying that, in some games you will score a lot of tries [and others not].

"If you look at the All Blacks, probably the most attacking [expansive] side - against Australia away they score a lot of tries [six] and  then at home score [just] two tries.

"It all depends on [what happens] on the day.

"We scored nine tries against Argentina [in Soweto] and the next game scored just one [in Mendoza].

"We want to play a more expansive game.

"I truly believe if you play a one-dimensional game, especially against a great defensive team like the All Blacks, they will work you out.

"We want to move the ball and create tries, as that is what the people want to watch."