The Springboks cruised to their second victory of Pool B at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday with a decisive 34-16 win over Scotland, showing resolve to forget the disappointment of their opening round defeat to Japan.
Coach Heyneke Meyer had praise for his players, especially the senior crew, but was already focused on their next engagement on Wednesday against the USA
The surprise 34-32 loss to the Japanese in the opening test of the tournament has refocused the Springbok side, allowing them to change their approach for the subsequent games, which they won comfortably as a result. The 46-6 demolition of Samoa boosted the confidence of the South Africans, and the Scottish game proved that they were able to continue on the right track.
Now, with the final match of the group on Wednesday against the Americans, the Springboks are aware of what needs to be done, and a victory will ensure qualification to the knockouts, where a finish at the top will see them avoid another top finisher from Australia and Wales’ group.
South African coach Heyneke Meyer is aware of the difficulty that lies ahead, but is also keen to use the determined underdogs approach to his team’s favour.
“We’re at our best when we’ve been written off, so we will have to keep the pressure on ourselves. I don’t know why but it is part of our mentality. I don’t know why but if the whole world writes us off, that is when we come back,” commented when addressing the media, according to SuperSport.
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“We will need that ruthlessness and desperation going into Wednesday as well. We don’t talk about favourites. We just take it game by game. But saying that, you have to take confidence from the good things. Suddenly our lineout is working with youngsters, Handre Pollard’s kicking performance and our defence are good, and those are great things. That is how you win trophies,” the coach added.
The Springbok coach went on to give special credit to the veterans in the squad for the role that they are playing at the tournament.
“The senior players must get a lot of credit, you have to adapt to the laws, and every competition has its own laws and we have adapted to that after the first game. It suits us the way we’ve played but we have to keep our feet on the ground and be humble, and learn from our mistakes in the past,” he said.
“It is great to have momentum, but we are in a position where every single game is a must-win and that will not change. We have to keep the pressure on. We want to make our country proud. It won’t be easy on Wednesday but we’re really focused, and that will rub off onto the team,” he concluded.