Boks are 'in with a chance'
Sat, 28 Sep 2013 22:10
We are in with a chance and that was all I asked from the team
Despite missing out on a bonus point against Australia at Newlands, the Springboks still managed to set up a play-off with the All Blacks next week.
The home side were too strong for the Wallabies who never threatened their hold on the game, but were left frustrated with certain aspects of their game as they consider the threat New Zealand will pose at Ellis Park next week.
It was a record victory against the Wallabies at Newlands, but the Boks found themselves explaining why they did not win by more after scoring three tries.
Although it was not a complete performance, they were not really troubled by Australia and have now given themselves a shot at winning the competition for the first time since 2009.
Coach Heyneke Meyer said that although there are some areas in which his team need to work on he is just grateful to have secured a comfortable victory and move on to the challenge of the All Blacks.
"I think it is a great sign as a team when you get a record win at Newlands against a quality side and you are not that happy.
"I was really happy with the performance, there are a few areas we need to work on and obviously we did not get the bonus point, but I think we are in with a chance and that was all I asked from the team.
"We have got one game left and we have got a lot of respect for the All Blacks, but if you have a chance you are still in the competition so I am very happy with the win," he said.
Despite two first-half tries the Bok finished with three and captain Jean de Villiers said as Stormers skipper facing questions about bonus points is something he is used to.
"It is funny how I am sitting in this same old room where I have been asked the question so many times of bonus points and all of that when you are top of the log type thing, so it is a familiar situation for me.
"We are not happy with areas of our game but we beat Australia by 20 points," he pointed out.
Meyer said that his team had tried to be positive and take advantage of the fact that Australia had four players deep with Quade Cooper dropping back, and he has been encouraged by their attacking potential despite missing the bonus point.
"We decided to move the ball when they put four guys back and that worked for us, so we really wanted to play a ball in hand game, it was a little wet at times but I thought we played some great rugby.
"The one thing I am happy about is that we scored seven tries to one against Australia this year, and I think we have scored the most tries this year and we are up there with the best in the Championship as well.
"The great thing for me is that after the criticism last year we are scoring great tries. I am really happy with the way we are playing, the guys were really positive tonight," he said.
The Bok coach said that his team know that they can raise their performance in a few different areas after battling to impose themselves consistently on Australia, but added that the fact that they are not satisfied after a comfortable victory shows how far they have come.
"You could see after the game that they were not happy, we they know we still have a far way to go. But if you look at how far we have come in a year and a half I am very happy with where the guys are as a team.
"It really was a tough game because you are almost in a lose-lose situation, a win is almost not good enough, only a bonus point win is good enough.
"So I am really happy with the way we are maturing as a team and scoring tries. We have really worked on our kicking game and I am happy with that going forward," he said.
It may not have been a bonus point win at Newlands, but the Springboks eased to victory and will reflect on their shortcomings carefully as they prepare to take on the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship decider.
By Michael de Vries
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