Boks braced for uphill battle

Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Perth - The Springboks will need a monumental effort to down the All Blacks, but coach Heyneke Meyer believes South Africa can win for the first time in New Zealand in five years.

South Africa face to the world champions in Wellington next Saturday trailing by three points on the Rugby Championship standings after a last-gasp 24-23 loss to the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday.

It was the Springboks' first defeat in this year's four-nation tournament after winning back-to-back against Argentina, but they face their supreme test away to the All Blacks.

South Africa's last success in New Zealand was a 32-29 win in Hamilton in 2009 and they have lost all five of their matches against the All Blacks at Wellington's Westpac Trust Stadium.

"While it's very disappointing to lose to the Wallabies we now need to set our sights on our next match, which is our third away from home on the trot, and rectify matters against New Zealand in Wellington," Meyer told reporters on Sunday.

"It will take a monumental effort and we've got a lot of respect for New Zealand, but I believe we can beat them there."

New Zealand are unchallenged as the top-ranked side in world rugby ahead of the Wallabies and South Africa, and an upset win for the Springboks would throw the Rugby Championship wide open ahead of their return match in Johannesburg on 4 October.

Meyer and skipper Jean de Villiers refused to be drawn on the issue of Bryan Habana's yellow card for a controversial high tackle on Wallaby Adam Ashley-Cooper that swung the match 15 minutes from time with the Springboks leading 23-14.

"What happened is done and it can't be changed," Meyer told reporters.

"I think you know the answer and I know the answer, so I'm not going to answer. The ref is always right.

"I'm not going into it, we don't want to use it as an excuse."

It was particularly upsetting for Habana as he was playing in his 100th Test for South Africa, but he was magnanimous in defeat.

"Definitely not the result we were looking for and certainly that yellow card probably cost the team a little, so I have to look at myself and see where I went wrong," Habana said.

"You have to give credit to them, they didn't stop believing, they didn't stop attacking, I think they tried to keep ball in hand as much as possible tonight.

"I think that shows character after the loss against the All Blacks a couple of weeks ago."

South Africa had looked in control of the Test match up until Habana's yellow card, which left his teammates to play with 14 men for most of the final stages.

"We're very disappointed with the defeat because we played very well," Meyer said.

"I thought we controlled the second half very well, playing against the wind, and the yellow card disrupted our plans on how we wanted to use the bench.

"No excuses though, it's a defeat and it really hurts."

De Villiers, who was playing in his 99th Test, said: "We played great rugby at stages, but they stuck to their guns until the end and scored the try that mattered.

"We probably made a few mistakes, which cost us, and defending with 14 men at the end was tough, but credit to the Wallabies for coming back.

"We lost this one and we've got to bounce back next weekend in Wellington."

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