Meyer says Springboks need to work on breakdowns and scrums

2014-06-09 00:00

HEYNEKE Meyer wanted a tough work-out for his Springboks ahead of the series against Wales and he would rather have encountered teething problems with refereeing interpretations now than in the Test series against Wales that starts in Durban next Saturday.

That there were aspects of the 47-13 win over the World XV at Newlands that the Boks should be concerned with may be a positive for a Bok coach who knows what he must work on before the Test matches start.

He wants his players to adapt to the northern hemisphere refereeing interpretations quicker than they did in their first match of the year at Newlands on Saturday.

“We thrive on quick ball and are a great attacking team when we do get quick ball, but we were unable to get that in the game against the World XV and that was a bit of a wake-up call,” he said.

“We didn’t get the ball back from the breakdowns quickly enough and that had a big impact on how we played. There were too many penalties conceded, particularly in the first half. We need to adapt better.”

Meyer made the point that he only had a few days to work with his team, but the World XV had even less and never had the luxury of playing together before.

Yet their scrum gave the Boks a torrid time. “We had the best scrum in the world last year according to the statistics. We will have to look at where we went wrong,” he said.

Meyer was happy with the lineouts, even though World XV coach Nick Mallett also had good reason to be happy with his forwards for the way they acquitted themselves in that phase. There was one skew throw from hooker Craig Burden, otherwise the two lineout formations comfortably controlled their own ball.

He said he was surprised at how structured the World XV had been, considering the little time they had to work together.

“I did expect more of a Barbarian type approach but they made it difficult for us and played proper Test rugby. If we had gone into the Test against Wales off the base of a loose, Super Rugby type game, we might have been in trouble.”

But it was when the World team did lose their structure and became loose in the game that the match ceased to be a contest.

“Once we fell more than a score behind early in the second half the guys felt they needed to start playing catch-up and that was exactly what the Springboks wanted us to do,” said Mallett.

“They wanted to prey on our mistakes, and in the first half, when we were keeping it tight and not making mistakes, we made it difficult for them. When the mistakes did come, we were punished.

“I think to do well against the Boks, you need to play a game that emphasises forward dominance and strong defence and cuts down on errors.”

Although the Boks won quite comfortably due to two late tries, Mallett was proud of his team’s effort.

“I was sorry about those two tries. We were on their line pressing for another try and it was a far better reflection of the effort our forwards put in.

“To walk the Bok scrum like they did at one stage of the second half was a tremendous effort and the two locks, Alistair Hargreaves and Juandre Kruger, did well in the lineouts.

“We knew they wanted to play us into the corners, but we prevented them from being able to do that early in the game and I was surprised how well we did up to that point.”

Bok skipper Victor Matfield agreed that not everything had worked out as well as had been planned.

“We wanted to play them into their half but they did most of the early playing. Our exiting from our own half was a particular area of concern,” he said.

Meyer was pleased with the performance of the old guard, led by Matfield and Bakkies Botha, and particularly Matfield’s leadership. “Some harsh words were said at half-time but Victor was good in how he kept the guys composed and calm,” said Meyer.

The coach added there had been no injuries picked up during the game and he would have a full squad when he selects his team for the Durban match against Wales.

South Africa (47): tries: Habana, Botha, B. Du Plessis 2, Goosen, Le Roux; conversions: M. Steyn, Goosen 2; penalties: M. Steyn 3.

World XV (13): try: Hargreaves; conversion: O’Connor; penalties: O’Connor 2.

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