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Bok defence sets the tone

Sun, 29 Jun 2014 20:27
Heyneke-meyer-anthem
I must take my hat off to the referee
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The fans and some pundits may be raving about eight great tries and some sublime attacking play, but coach Heyneke Meyer felt the Springboks' defence deserves as much credit.

South Africa, fielding a number of youngsters, had little trouble in demolishing Scotland 55-6 in their one-off Test in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.

Tries by Marcell Coetzee (two), Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo (two), JP Pietersen and Lodewyk de Jager (also two) had the PE fans going dilly - not to mention the millions watching on television.

And while the Bok mentor, Meyer, was happy about the team's attacking prowess - guided by rookie flyhalf Handré Pollard - he felt it was on defence where the team really showed their character.

"Obviously our attack was good, but the thing that stands out for me is that we conceded no tries," Meyer said of the team's efforts in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

"Most other teams would have, especially at the end, conceded a try or two.

"The Scots kept on coming at us, but we kept them out for four to five minutes.

"That shows the character of this team."

Meyer was also full of praise for New Zealand referee Glen Jackson, who he credited for allowing his side to get quick breakdown ball and allowing their dangerous backs to be unleashed on the hapless Scots.

"I must take my hat off to the referee," Meyer said of Jackson.

"When I spoke to him beforehand, I said I just want quick ball. He said he would be strict there and we got quick ball the first 20 minutes."

Meyer said his flyhalf, Pollard, was brilliant running onto the ball.

"We were awesome when we got quick ball," the Bok coach said, adding: "Then for 20 minutes they started contesting at the breakdown and messed up our rhythm, while we [also] conceded too many penalties [in the second quarter of the match].

"Once we got quicker ball in the second half we put them away.

"To put 50 points on any team in the world is a great performance."

Another encouraging part aspect was that some of the more seasoned campaigners played as if they were at the peak of their careers.

Meyer expressed his satisfaction with the depth he had developed since taking the reins in 2012.

"Three years ago we started with some youngsters and as we suffered injuries, we brought some of the older players back into the side," Meyer said.

"A lot of them played brilliantly [at the weekend], we asked for a big performance from a guy like JP Pietersen but it is also great that when we had injuries again the youngsters came through.

"We have an unbelievable 40 players that we can pick from so I am really happy with the guys coming through and I think the future looks bright."

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