Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 19 News List

South Africa is learning from defeats, Meyer says

Reuters, CARDIFF

Jean de Villiers, left, of South Africa is tackled by Dan Lydiate of Wales during their Test match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer is not going to hit the panic button, despite suffering a second tour defeat when his side went down 12-6 to Wales on Saturday.

The Springboks also lost to Ireland in Dublin, although they responded by beating England at Twickenham, and then Italy.

However, more of a worry for Meyer, ahead of next year’s World Cup, which starts in September, was the dislocated knee suffered by captain Jean De Villiers.

The center was taken to hospital for further tests, but Meyer said he was “very worried” about his leader.

In a game in which South Africa had overseas-based players unavailable because it fell outside the Test window, Meyer said his side had not had sufficient strength in depth.

“I know we are much better than this. All credit to Wales — they played well — but this being the fourth game on tour, and with some players unavailable, it was always going to be tough and we were always going to be under pressure,” Meyer said. “Every single loss you have to look in the mirror but, saying that, we always knew our depth was going to be under pressure, a lot of youngsters coming from the bench today.”

“You don’t want to use that as an excuse, but you have to have these games, outside of the window. We said we wanted to play this game with a lot of youngsters to see what they can do. But it’s never great to lose,” he added.

Meyer said the defeat for South Africa, who could meet Wales in the World Cup quarter-finals if they both get out of the pool stage, would have no bearing if they met in the tournament.

“I still believe we’re on the right track and I believe we can win it [the World Cup],” he said. “Usually we have a very experienced bench come on to help win the game for us. But it won’t have any bearing on the World Cup.”

“We have a lot of great players to come back — we’ll have an unbelievably strong squad. We’ll be well prepared,” he added. “We’ve learned a hell of lot [on tour]. You have to lose games unfortunately and you have to learn from that. We learned a lot of things after [the defeat] by Ireland, and against England.”

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