Meyer delighted after his selections produce the goods in Brisbane blitzkrieg

2013-09-09 00:00

THE Springbok coach is not one to gloat but there was no hiding Heyneke Meyer’s deep smile of personal satisfaction after the Wallabies had been beaten 38-12 in the Rugby Championship at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

The Springboks surprised friend and foe with the quality of their rugby while everything Meyer touched, before and during a remarkable contest, turned to gold.

Not only did the Boks get King Kong off their back, but their first win in Brisbane in 42 years was laced with four tries. The creative, skillful, attacking Australians booted four penalties.

It was a victory to savour and one which vindicated Meyer’s selection and his tactical approach.

The selections of fullback Zane Kirch­ner and Willie le Roux on the wing, along with the retention of Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf after his patchy showing in Mendoza, were criticised, but all three players came up trumps on Saturday night.

Pienaar, slicker in his clearance, produced sublime passes to set up two tries and Le Roux’s off-load opened the door for Kirchner’s to score before he easily sliced through the Wallaby cover for a try of his own.

“I’m just thankful that sometimes the coach gets it right,” a smiling Meyer said later.

“People back home can’t believe with Zane Kirchner in, you can score tries. I’m just really happy for him and the backs.

“Zane hasn’t played for quite some time, probably two or three months. He was brilliant there. We knew exactly what we didn’t do well in the previous game. He brought something.”

He also praised Le Roux.

“Willie is a quality player; he’s still learning Test match rugby. It’s a horses for courses approach. He’s always scoring or playing. Willie’s a brilliant player. People think South African backs can’t be exciting. I truly believe they can.”

Captain Jean de Villiers paid tribute to the Springbok backrow of Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw and Willem Alberts, the wrecking balls who demolished the Wallaby backline.

“They may lack a bit of pace, but what they bring to the party is fantastic. I love having them in our team,” said the Bok captain, who was also prominent both in attack and defence.

The victory was based on the classic South African rugby philosophy of subdue and penetrate.

“That’s what Test rugby is about,” said De Villiers. “Our forwards laid the foundation and we took our scoring chances late in the game.”

De Villiers was particularly enthusiastic about the Boks’ scrummaging.

“Our scrummaging is immense at the moment, both from the starting front-row and those on the bench.

“The new laws suit us.”

Meyer’s tactics on the day also worked a treat as his backs and loose forwards closed down the Australian attackers quickly and effectively, often well behind the advantage line.

And, because the scrum was advancing, Will Genia and Quade Cooper were constantly under pressure, while the closely-marked Israel Folau only hinted at his undoubted potential.

Returning Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis underlined his value for the first hour while the addition of Adriaan Strauss and Juandré Kruger and the influence of Eben Etzebeth, who finished strongly after a week in bed, brought a new dimension to the forward play in the last quarter.

De Villiers said the performance was not perfect — “not by a long shot”.

“But, if you are to evolve as a team, you have to learn from your mistakes. And we certainly learnt the lessons of Mendoza,” he said.

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