Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer accepted responsibility for the 37-25 defeat the Springboks suffered against Argentina in the Rugby Championship in Durban on Saturday. The coach, who suffered defeat against Los Pumas for the first time since he took over the Bok reigns in 2012, admitted that his side did not play well enough to deserve victory in the final match of the tournament, won by Australia earlier in the day. Meyer says: ‘We need to give credit to Argentina, who outplayed us today. They delivered a great performance and deserved the win. They played a game that suited them and not us. We could not adapt and sadly, we were just not good enough today. We have let our country and our supporters down today with this unacceptable performance. We are a proud team, but you will lose sometimes. What we dished up in the first half was very poor. I apologise to the nation as the buck stops with me as coach. There are no excuses. I take responsibility and will work harder to rectify this before the Rugby World Cup.’
The SA mentor lamented his side’s handling errors and inability to secure quick phase ball as contributing factors for their downfall. The Bok boss says: ‘We managed quick ball against New Zealand and Australia despite them having two of the best opensiders in the world. Today we could not manage that, for a variety of reasons.’ Meyer, who expects the 2015 Rugby World Cup to be the toughest yet, is still looking forward to his team’s charge at the Webb Ellis Trophy.
He says: ‘This does not put us back for the Rugby World Cup. We are a much better team than this. We will be working even harder. I still believe we are in contention for the World Cup. We are getting a number of big ball carriers back soon and we will be better for it.’ Springbok captain, Jean De Villiers, also offered no excuses. South Africa’s skipper says: ‘Credit to them, on the day they were a far better team than us. We conceded such easy tries, three off set-phase. It was just too easy. We, on the other hand, had to work very hard for our tries. We were all lethargic today. We need to find a reason why it happened. We prepared well, but everyone was down today.’
De Villiers feels the players will have to have a hard look at themselves, saying: ‘Yesterday’s captain’s run was good, the guys were focused. We were asleep and then played catch-up rugby though. We will sit down and have a hard look at ourselves. We can’t convert at the moment.’ The midfielder admitted some frustration at scrum penalties and the incident where the Argentines scored a try with a number of medics still on the field.
He says: ‘The medics were still on the field, so that was frustrating when they scored that try. We should have been ready though, but did not react the way we should have. It costs you games as we saw tonight.’ De Villiers took a knock to the jaw and Marcell Coetzee injured a knee, but more information on those injuries will be made available later.
Photo credit: Prensa UAR