Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Monday said his team’s improved performance against Australia was down to the players understanding what he wanted from them.
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“When I went through the video today there was almost silence for the whole video because there was not much that I could add,” Meyer said.
“They are starting to understand the game plan, what we want from them and how we want them to play.”
Meyer, however, knows full well that New Zealand will post a different challenge when the two sides square up in the final Rugby Championship match at FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.
While Meyer was wary of the All Blacks he said he was encouraged by the way the team started to execute the game plan.
“What we did better was the execution of the game plan, and we can even execute much better,” Meyer said.
“They got a huge amount of confidence after the first New Zealand game, and confidence is contagious as a lack of confidence.
“I’ve always said it is a process, and if we win Saturday I think we’ve come a long way and we’ve won all our home games and look forward to the end-of-year tour.”
The Bok mentor said it was important for the side to beat the New Zealanders this weekend and on a regular basis with an eye on the 2015 World Cup in England.
“Every single Test match we want to play well and improve and prove that we can beat them,” he said.
“It is also psychological, we have to beat them to be able to believe that and beat them consistently especially going forward to the World Cup.”
Meanwhile, Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts confirmed that centre Francois Steyn, who missed the Australia Test due to an ankle injury will undergo surgery on Wednesday and would be out for three months.
“We’ve been doing a number of scans and seeing specialists, there is quite few loose bodies in the joint, little pieces bone that in time has broken of ankle,” Roberts said about Steyn’s injury.
“Every now and then bones catches into the joint and gets excruciating pain, it can damage the joint.
“It was taken as long term decision, he will be done (operated) on Wednesday, unfortunately keep him out for three months, also for end of year tour.”
Young Bok flyhalf Johan Goosen sat out of training on Monday because of a bruised heel while fullback Zane Kirchner also did not train due to a bruise on his hip-bone.
“He (Goosen) was comfortable running (on the field), just when he planted his foot for kicking,” Roberts said.
“We always knew beforehand that he may be sore, which is why early on we decided to change kicker.”
There was also uncertainty over prop Coenie Oosthuizen’s availability, with the Cheetahs player still nursing a neck injury.
Bulls flanker Jacques Potgieter have also been released to his province where he will be treated for an abdominal strain.
Golden Lions utility back Lionel Mapoe and Blue Bulls loose forward Arno Botha were subsequently called up in place of the injured Steyn and Potgieter.