Bok skipper made 'brilliant' calls
Bok skipper made 'brilliant' callsSHARE
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers may have his critics, but Bok coach Heyneke Meyer is certainly not one of them.
De Villiers, who was questioned over the decision to go for touch instead of aiming at the posts with a number of early penalties in the 21-10 win over Scotland at the weekend, said the decisions were a 'gut feel on the field'.
The Springboks early on turned a kickable penalty into a five-metre line-out but the referee penalised them for obstruction.
After kicking the next two at posts, they then turned another penalty into a line-out 10 metres out, mauled off Juandré Kruger and Adriaan Strauss scored.
De Villiers certainly had the backing of his coach, who described his calls as "brilliant".
"The first one didn't work out for us, we conceded a penalty," De Villiers said, when asked about those early calls.
"The second and third ones we kicked for goal and the fourth one we scored off that," the Bok skipper said, when asked about his bold decisions.
"It is also the players backing the call and in this match I thought we got it right most of the time.
"I'm happy with that and like I said, it is a collective effort and once the team supports the call I have made, it makes my job so much easier."
The Bok mentor said those tactics were part of the pre-match plan.
"We decided beforehand we were going to put them under pressure," Meyer said, adding: "The Scottish team, when they get into your 22, they almost always score points.
"We knew that at the outset they will be fired up, so we wanted to keep them in their half in the first 20 [minutes] and it worked.
"They couldn't get into our half and we kept them, under pressure.
"I thought tactically Jean was brilliant with the calls in the first half."
De Villiers was also full of praise for the defence of his teammates – which kept Scotland scoreless for the last 30 minutes, despite numerous raids on the Bok line and a surfeit of possession.
"Defence is not something you can coach always, it comes from within," the Bok captain said.
"The attitude you show on defence is your attitude towards the team.
"For me it is very pleasing to see the guys never gave up.
"The hits were there to the very end and we were able to keep them out the last 30 minutes.
"One try was scored [by Scotland] from a set phase [line-out five metres out] and that was disappointing," he said of a score by the home team just before the 50-minute mark.
"However, a lot was said last week about Scotland scoring three tries against New Zealand, the top-ranked team in the world [last week].
"We managed to keep them out, only conceding one try."
He said he felt they could sustain that sort of intensity on defence going into their final tour match, against England at Twickenham this coming Saturday.
"As long as that's there you can see the team means something to the individuals and for me as a captain that is very pleasing."