Meyer: Springboks are building something special

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer believes the South African national rugby team are building “something special” after they beat Samoa 56-23 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening.

While he did not expect the sizable numbers on the scoreboard, Meyer said he had asked his players for a special performance, and to front up against the physical Pacific Islanders.

“I think we are really building on something special as long as we keep working hard,” Meyer said.

“I’ve said to the guys I don’t care about the score, the scoreboard is for the fans.

“You need to win the battle in front of you and that is what I’ve asked of them, so the score will take care of itself.

“We’ve asked them to win the millimetres and centimetres and play second for second and minute for minute and win the physical battle.”

The pack of forwards replied to Meyer’s request in emphatic fashion as they dominated the battle up front, which allowed go-forward ball for the backline.

This translated into eight tries scored by the Boks as they finished the four-nation tournament on a high.

“We’ve only been together for three weeks and we need a year to work on our loose play and off the ball and cleaning,” Meyer said.

“Our pack was awesome tonight – it was a really physical performance and Samoa has got a really big and physical pack, and I thought it was probably the best performance I’ve seen from our pack.”

The Boks started the series by battering Italy 44-10 in Durban, but slumped somewhat in a 30-17 victory over Scotland the following week in Nelspruit.

They came under severe criticism for their listless performance against Scotland, but made amends with a well-rounded display against Samoa.

And while Meyer commended his troops for their efforts against the Samoans, he felt they needed to make some adjustments.

“It was typical Bok rugby and I think we need to keep our feet on the ground. There are still a few errors we need to fix,” he said.

“I am very happy with the team and if you look at Samoa’s record, they’ve been close against France in Paris and they’ve beaten Wales in Cardiff, so they are a quality side.

“We are a well balanced side, and the great thing for me is that we mauled well, our defence was awesome and there were also some brilliant touches.”

Prior to the match there was uncertainty over the availability of inspirational captain Jean de Villiers due to injury, and he was cleared the day before the clash.

De Villiers again led from the front and had to absorb a lot of the bruising tackles dished out by the Samoans.

“My captain was awesome as a leader and the nice thing about this team is that they play for each other,” Meyer said.

“We asked them for one big performance, especially a physical one, and I think they’ve been physical tonight.”

De Villiers said the relatively youthful team showed maturity on the night to beat a quality side.

“It is great to be in a team where you know the guy next to you is going to do his job, no matter his age, no matter how many Tests he’s played, but just knowing that he’s been selected for his country and he wants to make his country proud,” De Villiers said.

“Every single guy that played tonight did that and, I mean, you couldn’t tell who the 20-year-old was and who the 32-year-old was.

“It was a good performance by every single guy and if you are good enough you are old enough and young enough.”

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