It was the right gameplan, but discipline and poor goal kicking cost the Springboks a famous win over the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday, Head Coach Heyneke Meyer said after their 21-11 defeat to New Zealand in The Castle Rugby Championship.
“I am very disappointed at the result. We had the right gameplan, we managed to put them under severe pressure. But you have to convert that pressure into points and if we did that, it would have created even more pressure and help us going forward,” Meyer said.
“The guys really put their bodies on the line and I am very happy and very proud about that. That effort did not show on the scoreboard though and that is not good enough.”
The coach gave credit to New Zealand who kept their composure despite being outplayed for long spells in the game.
“That was the difference between the two sides today, they took their points. Credit to them, they did not panic,” Meyer said.
On the incident that resulted in Bok prop Dean Greyling being yellow carded (and later cited), Meyer was not happy.
“I did not see the incident, but I am big on discipline. I think it cost us the game as well. We pride ourselves on our discipline and this wasn’t good enough. I will apologise to Richie and deal with the incident in-house.”
The coach explained that he substituted Beast Mtawarira with Greyling because Mtawarira was tired.
“Beast played a lot of rugby this year, I thought fresh legs would help because we were conceding penalties in the scrum,” he said.
He admitted that in hindsight, his decision not to replace Mornè Steyn as kicker as a mistake.
“We did discuss it, as we have very good kickers in Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar as well. I felt, like in the past, Mornè would regain his rhythm, but it did not happen, so maybe I made the wrong call.
I was always going to bring in Johan Goosen slowly as he has not played for almost three months, so I gave him 25 minutes this time.”
With regards to the home tests, which Meyer admitted looking forward to the coach indicated some changes to the team might be possible, with injured players coming back.
“We will look at players coming back, but I feel these players are improving week after week. I am happy with their guts and what they gave out there. I said to the players before if you want to beat New Zealand at home your discipline need to be impeccable, you have to kick your goals and you need a moment of magic from a player. Bryan Habana certainly supplied the last. I could ask for more from him. It is great to have Bryan back after he had a bad patch last year.”
Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers, said the team felt they should have won this match.
“We had opportunities out there, like last week. At this level you only get a few opportunities. It is hard when you don’t convert them. I am not sure why the goal kickers battled, but back home and in Super Rugby we play with a Gilbert ball and here they use the Adidas ball. I recall that during the World Cup here, kickers also battled in this stadium.”