An ugly win reveals Boks' character
Sun, 22 Jun 2014 10:30
I am a believer in character
Heyneke Meyer has been given renewed confidence in his charges' character as they look ahead to the Championship and World Cup.
The Springboks have had two very polar games against the traveling Welsh, one, a dazzling display of attacking prowess; the other, a hard-fought grind of a win.
Many may be saying that the Boks have used up all their get-out-of-jail-free cards early on, but for the coach the Nelspruit display showed him his team is full of character.
"You need games like this, I believe last year against the All Blacks it was much of the same, we also scored four tries but we lost that game - so we learnt from that," Meyer said after the 31-30 victory.
"I have always said I am a believer in character, I've always appreciated guys that can come through under pressure.
"They [the Welsh] started off well and put us under pressure - but it shows the character of this team, we never panicked, even at half-time or the end; I always thought we could pull it through.
Stand-in captain and newly crowned highest capped Springbok Victor Matfield was on hand to back up what his coach had to say about the character of the team.
"I really believe if you want to win a World Cup you need character, and being on the field, having all those great leaders around is amazing, it is just great how clam the guys stayed and the character they showed," said Matfield.
"Coach Heyneke is very hands on, he wants the guys to show character and they did that today.
"The guys showed that they can come back from behind.
We [showed we] can go out an play well like last week from the start, like last week. However if we are behind we can keep our heads, we can stick to the game plan and we can pull games through."
The Springboks next face Scotland in Port Elizabeth this coming Saturday - ahead of the Rugby Championship where the opposition will be stronger.
Both the All Blacks and the Wallabies have recorded series whitewashes over their opposition in the June internationals.
"It is going to be a different challenge, Scotland are going to come here remembering last year where it was very very close," said Meyer.
"It is a great opportunity for those fringe players to get involved in what should be another cracker of a test match.
"We are looking forward to it, you need these games, especially going to the World Cup and the Championship - those games are all going to be tough they all are going to be difficult.
"In the World Cup every game is going to be a 50/50 and you have to build from here.
"With top teams like these it is hard to choose, it can go either way and you need games like this [the second test against Wales] especially going into the Championship, we have to grind out a win, stay positive and like I said, I am happy with the team."
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