Rugby Championship

Boks aim to prey on Pumas

2013-08-20 19:00
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Buenos Aires - Springbok coach, Heyneke Meyer says his charges will aim to be merciless against Argentina in their Rugby Championship return match in Mendoza on Saturday.

Rugby365's website reports that following the Boks total annihilation of the Pumas in Soweto this past weekend, Meyer wants his players to be even more ruthless when the two teams lock horns once more, this time in Mendoza, where the Argentinians came close to causing an upset against Meyer's men in last year's tournament when the Springboks had to fight for a 16-all draw.

"One of the mistakes I made earlier in my career is that you look at other teams and you look at permutations, then you get caught up in that," Meyer told a media briefing in Buenos Aires.

"We said from the outset, let's play clinical, lets play our game and if the bonus point is available then we take it," the Bok mentor said.

"The one mistake we shouldn't do is compare other teams and look at what they are doing," he said, when asked if they felt they need a five-pointer in Mendoza to ensure the table-topping Boks stay ahead of New Zealand in the competition.

"That is when you lose focus and instead of winning a game you end up losing the game.

"My mindset is that there are five finals left and I don't care if we win every single final (match) with one point.

"If we win the next five games we win the championship.

"We are going to take it one game at a time.

"It is great for the media to look at what happens to other teams, but that is not how we play.

"We are going to focus on this game, keep our eyes on the ball and focus on Saturday.

"We want an improved performance away from home and hat is how we are going to look at it."

Meyer pointed out that the Boks will strive to maintain their dominance they experienced in Soweto at set-pieces.

"What was good for me was that we got full marks for our line-outs, 15 out of 15," Meyer said,

"Our scrums were eight from eight," he added.

"It wasn't a case of festival rugby, where we threw the ball around willy-nilly.

"The instructions were clear: 'Let us be clinical, let's drive well, let's tire them out and in the last 20 minutes the impact players can come on and then we can spread the ball (wide).

While everything fell into place for the Boks in Soweto, Meyer maintained that there is no place for complacency within his squad, especially while on the road.

"We also realise that we have to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground.

"I have learned in rugby, that game (in Soweto) is over and done, it is the next one that matters.

"The other standout feature, which showed against Samoa (in June) already, is that we are starting to get a killer instinct.

"The challenge for this team now is to show that killer instinct away from home.

"The task is to ensure we also play well away from home and this week we are focussing on that."

He felt the team is growing and are now benefitting from the fact that they won three consecutive Tests on the road on the year-end tour.

"Those wins (in November) we had to grind out - they were arm-wrestles and that is how it is away from home."

Meyer alluded to last year's draw in Mendoza and vowed not to make the same mistake again.

"We threw the ball around too much (in Mendoza last year) and attempted to play attractive rugby against them.

"That is why we were so clinical (this past) Saturday.

"It is important that we make a step up from the European tour last year and show that we can also be clinical here in Argentina.

"They keep asking us: 'Will there be a backlash?'

"Our mindset will be that we must be ruthless and step it up away from home."

Meyer also praised his bench for their impact in their demolition of the Pumas, saying that he always strives to keep as much strength as possible in reserve.

"One of the strengths of my previous teams was the strong bench," Meyer explained.

"Often when you bring on so many guys so early, you can lost continuity.

"We just got better and played at a higher tempo.

"What was great for me was how clinical we were when the impact players came on."

Meyer maintained that while he wants to keep his squad as consistent as possible, he has to look at the fitness levels of some of his players in an attempt to avoid burning them out.

"The flipside of the coin is that many of these players, like Jan Serfontein, also need game time at this level.

"I am glad to see Patrick Lambie is doing so well at No.15, Willie (le Roux) started cramping ," Meyer said.

"It is nice to know you have a quality bench and don't have to take risks - any player can go on.

"It also gave us the opportunity to see Flip (van der Merwe) at the No.5 lock, where I would like to see him more and see him improve.

"Sometimes you put players on, get it wrong and you come in for criticism.

"This was one occasion where we got it right."


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