Bok strategy wins the day

2013-09-09 00:00

THE Springbok’s first win over the Wallabies in Brisbane in 42 years was won in the six inches between the ears of the players.

Coach Heyneke Meyer, speaking in a audio link-up from Brisbane, said that the 38-12 was won by the Springboks’ mental approach and their ability to play the game without the ball.

It was the Boks’ biggest win in Australia and the South Africans outscored “the best backline in world rugby” by four tries to nil.

South Africa led 16-6 at half-time and were ahead by only seven points midway through the second half. But suddenly, with players off the bench providing fresh energy, the Boks ran in three tries in less than 10 minutes to stretch away for a remarkable win, one which left the Wallabies with five losses in six Tests this year.

Prop Coenie Oosthuizen, on briefly for Jannie le Roux as a blood replacement, scored the first-half try for the Boks and then centre Jean de Villiers, fullback Zane Kirchner and wing Willie le Roux crossed between the 60th and 70th minutes in the second half as the Wallabies were cracked wide open. Morné Steyn kicked three conversions and four penalties.

Meyer said the platform had been laid by the dominant scrum, the excellent defence and self-belief.

An emotional Meyer apologised for his extravagant behaviour in the coaches’ box.

“I just get so passionate about the team. I really believe in this team. Everyone said we couldn’t win at Suncorp. But as a team we really believed we could win. Our whole message this week was that we needed to believe we could win. I am a proud South African and we wanted to show the country that if we work together nothing is impossible.

He said the opening quarter had been critical to the win.

“Although Australia lost they are an unbelievable attacking side and if they had scored one or two tries early on, it would have been difficult to play catch-up away from home.

“I thought our defence was awesome — we spoke about it the whole week that we would have to win the game without the ball. Our scrums and set pieces were great, but I truly believe we won the game in the mind and, second, without the ball.

“But we need to keep our feet on the ground and stay humble,” Meyer reiterated. “I’m very proud of the guys, but this Saturday is a bigger challenge against the world champions [the All Blacks].”

Despondent Wallaby coach Ewen Mckenzie was later forced to admit that all-out attack was not the way to win Test matches.

“You have to get the right balance,” he said after the Wallabies took nearly 60% of the ball, but received a 26-point hammering.

The fierce, smothering Bok defence, led by their burly backrow forwards, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen, kept knocking back the Wallabies and they forced 18 turnovers.

“We were probably more focused on attack,” he said of South Africa’s dominance of the breakdown. “We had more guys focusing on attack rather than conserving the ball — that’s a balance.”

The Boks travelled to Auckland yesterday to prepare for a crunch Test against their old foe. The All Blacks will be without their inspirational captain and flank Richie McCaw, who damaged knee ligaments in the tough 28-13 win over the Pumas.

The All Blacks were unable to score four tries for the bonus point and trail the Boks by one point on the Rugby Championship log.

SCORERS

South Africa 38: Tries: Coenie Oosthuizen, Jean de Villiers, Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux. Conversions: Morné Steyn (3). Penalties: Steyn (4).

Australia 12: Penalties: Christian Lealiifano (4)

All Blacks 28: Tries: Aaron Smith (2), Julian Savea. Conversions: Dan Carter (2). Penalties: Carter (2), Beauden Barrett.

Argentina 13: Try: Juan Manuel Leguizamon. Conversion: Nicolas Sanchez. Penalties: Sanchez (2).

This Saturday’s fixtures (home team first, SA times):

New Zealand v South Africa 9.35 am

Australia v Argentina 12.05 pm.

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP LOG

P W D L PF PA PD BP Pts

SA 3 3 0 0 133 42 91 2 14

NZ 3 3 0 0 102 58 44 1 13

A’­tina 3 0 0 3 43 123 -80 1 1

Australia 3 0 0 3 57 112 -55 0 0

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