Cardiff - Reflecting on the 2014 season, Springbok coach Heyneyke Meyer said he was happy with the progress the team has shown.
Apart from the victory over New Zealand in October, which was a highlight, it was also the Springboks’ first unbeaten season at home since 2005, which included a draw against France.
The Springboks won 10 out of their 14 matches in 2014, for a winning percentage of 71%. Meyer said before the season he knew the year before a World Cup is always tough and the performance this season compares very well with 2002 (winning percentage of 45%), 2006 (42%) and 2010 (57%).
South Africa scored 44 tries in total during the season, while their defensive effort was also very good in conceding only 19 tries, or 1.4 per game which equates to the best defence by the Boks in 15 years.
Two Springboks, Duane Vermeulen and Willie le Roux, were nominated for the World Player of the Year Award, while Francois Hougaard walked away with the IRPA Try of the Year Award for his sublime five-pointer against the All Blacks at Ellis Park. Hendricks was also nominated for this award.
“Statistics showed us the year before a World Cup is always tough and our aim was to work hard and ensure we still perform well,” said Meyer.
“We learnt valuable lessons from the defeats in Cardiff and Dublin, while we came very close in Perth and Auckland. Although the season wasn’t perfect, I think we’ve still done well.
“The victory over New Zealand in Johannesburg was very important. We recorded good wins over England in London, Australia in Cape Town, Scotland in Port Elizabeth and Wales in Durban, while we also had to dig deep against Argentina in Salta and Wales in Nelspruit.
“With all the injuries to key players, and our overseas-based players not available at stages during the season, we were also forced to build our depth, which can be seen as a positive.
“We have nine months of very hard work ahead before we head out to England for the Rugby World Cup. We’re going to keep our feet on the ground and put in every effort, because we want to make our country proud next year.
“We would like to thank our supporters in South Africa and abroad for backing us every week, it really means a lot to us as a team and we value the effort they put in to get behind us.”