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No leeway for Boks in Cardiff

Mon, 04 Nov 2013 13:37
Beast-v-wales.jpg630 Millenniumstadium3
If you make a mistake here teams will punish you so it is a totally new mindset
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The Springboks know that accuracy will be key against a balanced and settled Wales team at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff this weekend.

The Six Nations champions have only ever beaten the Boks once, and they will be fired up to make a big statement in their first match of the season on Saturday.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will not make many changes to the team that lost to the All Blacks at Ellis Park last month, but he has challenged them to improve their accuracy or risk being punished by the Welsh.

"We have to change the way we play, we have to be more clinical and execute better because if you make a mistake here teams will punish you so it is a totally new mindset," he said.

Meyer has plenty of respect for a Wales side that is littered with British and Irish Lions, and is expecting a complete examination on Saturday.

"Wales are an unbelievable team, they have been together for quite some time now, they have shown that they can beat the best and they have got a simple gameplan but they execute it very well.

"They are a very balanced side with big backs, big forwards, a great rushing defence and they can score tries as well.

"If you look at the previous games against Wales they are always closely-fought so we know that they are going to be very emotional and come out firing, but we want to focus on our own game and be very motivated.

"We see this as a huge game for us, a big challenge against probably the in-form team at the moment," he said.

Although they have only lost two games to the All Blacks this year, Meyer is determined to see his team develop their game on this tour in conditions they will be faced with at the next World Cup.

"I think we need to develop all parts of play, I think attacking-wise we have been brilliant but these are different conditions. Scrummaging-wise we were awesome in the Rugby Championship, our scrummaging percentage was 100 % and we conceded the least amount of restarts and the least amount of collapsed scrums.

"Our defence was awesome at the end of year last year, but it wasn't good against New Zealand so that is what we want to improve in. I believe we have really improved at the breakdown but again this is the northern hemisphere so it is more 50/50 on the ground.

"Our line-outs have been close to 100%, but our kick-offs are one area that we need to work on," he said.

The Bok coach would like to see his team convert more of their opportunities, especially as they can be few and far between on the heavy European fields.

"One area that I am not happy with is the fact that we create scoring opportunities, against New Zealand we had 17 linebreaks and only scored four tries whereas they had seven linebreaks and scored five tries, that is not good enough.

"So we get a lot of opportunities but don't use them, and especially in these conditions against a great rushing defence you are not going to have as many opportunities and you have to convert those into points.

"We give away too many turnovers, we have to keep the ball better and look after it because here you need to be more patient and wait for opportunities to convert pressure into points.

"This is a totally different challenge to the Rugby Championship, it is more of an arm-wrestle, your set-pieces need to be brilliant, you can't afford to make mistakes so you have to be very clinical and disciplined," he said.

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