Rugby Championship

Meyer praises Pumas' defence

2012-08-19 19:43
Heyneke Meyer (File)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says Argentina's defensive efforts withheld his side from landing a decisive knockout blow in their Rugby Championship match at Newlands on Saturday.

"You are only as good as your opposition but all credit to them," Meyer said after the Boks' 27-6 victory over the Pumas.

"We play a gain-line dominance game and they were right on the advantage line.

"They pressed hard in the midfield which we knew they would do and we didn’t get quick ball."

It was an improved performance from the Boks' final Test against England in June as they played with more intent.

Their defence was rock solid as they did not allow for any 'soft moments' as Meyer described it.

"I’m probably a very difficult coach to please," he said.

"I would have loved to got four tries, but this is Test match rugby.

"I was very happy on defence, we’ve worked really hard on it, and they didn’t score any tries."

He lamented the squandered scoring opportunities but felt the team still made the country proud.

"I thought we should have finished a bit better once or twice and gone for the four tries," Meyer said.

"But this team is still improving and the guys put their bodies on the line and I can’t ask for more."

After receiving immense scrutiny of his performance in the June Test series against England, flyhalf Morné Steyn rewarded Meyer for his loyalty as he had a blinder of a match.

Steyn was outstanding in all facets of his game, and especially on the place-kicking front.

He succeeded with all five of his kicks at goal while his tactical kicking and ball distribution was spot on.

While Steyn's critics were baying for his blood, Meyer was convinced his pivot would bounce back from his dip in form.

"Morné trained well the whole week and I felt he would have a great game on Saturday," he said.

"I'm just happy he delivered. It's just the kind of guy he is - we needed him today and I thought he was awesome."

Meyer felt the team needed to improve at the breakdowns ahead of their second match in Mendoza, Argentina next weekend.

"I thought our kicking game was a lot better than against England.

"I think the problem was that when we got into the areas, we kept the ball through two or three phases, and lost the ball at the breakdown."

He felt the team needed to be more physical at the breakdown as the Argentineans had the better of them in that area of play.

"We didn’t handle that on the day and there is no use saying afterwards that we need to be more clinical," Meyer said.

"We need to make a huge step up at the breakdown."

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