London - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Wednesday said he was happy that his team had qualified for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, but warned that they have not yet achieved anything with the knock-out phase of the competition looming.
The Boks were in scintillating form as they beat the USA 64-0 (half-time14-0) at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday, thereby making sure they top Pool B.
Spearheaded by Bryan Habana, who scored three tries to equal Jonah Lomu’s record of 15 five-pointers in Rugby World Cups, the Springboks finished with 10 tries, but more importantly to Meyer, they conceded none.
“We are really happy with our defence as we have only conceded one try in our last three games,” said Meyer.
“Fourie du Preez deserves a lot of credit for his captaincy, the players stuck to the game plan and executed it very well, especially after we made a few minor changes at the break.
“I’m really proud of the guys, we scrummed and mauled well. I’m also very happy with the continuity and that players who had been out with injury are hitting form again.
“But we’ve achieved nothing yet and we have to keep our feet on the ground - we will now take a break for a few days before regrouping and getting ready for what will be a very tough quarter-final against either Wales or Australia.”
Meyer praised Habana for his performance and equalling Lomu’s record: “Bryan would be the first to admit it’s not about the individual, but the team. He’s has always played well for me and always comes through in the big games.
“When we really needed him in the last two or three weeks, Bryan delivered his best. I am so proud of him not just as a rugby player but as a human being as well. He is a great ambassador for South Africa.”
Du Preez, who captained the Boks for the second time on Wednesday, commented: “After the Japan game, every single game we played was a knockout game for us. Whether that is good or bad I don’t know but we now have a few days to reflect on the last three and a half weeks.
“The team responded well to the pressure and we will get together on Sunday and only then focus on that quarter-final.”
Apart from Habana’s three tries, Francois Louw (2), Bismarck du Plessis, Jesse Kriel, Lwazi Mvovo and Damian De Allende also scored tries - it was De Allende’s first in Tests. Handre Pollard added four conversions and Morne Steyn three, while the Boks were also awarded a penalty try.