Heyneke Meyer (Getty)
Johannesburg – Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said the team would be looking to return to the type of rugby that complimented the team’s strengths when they face Samoa in their second Rugby World Cup encounter in Birmingham on Saturday.
Meyer said the team may have unknowingly moved away from what made them one of the most feared teams in world rugby.
“It is important to revert to what makes us strong and we’ve moved away from that we had an 80 percent winning record, we were unbeaten in two consecutive end-of-year tours,” Meyer said at the team announcement on Wednesday.
“That is what worked for us and it worked at previous World Cups and that is what worked for us at previous World Cups.”
Meyer referred to a happier time for the Springboks at the end of 2013 when the team boasted with a 83 percent winning record.
The Boks ended the year winning 10 out 12 Tests with two defeats to the All Blacks the only blemish in their otherwise stellar season.
Since the beginning of 2014 an obsession with playing an expansive style of rugby saw Meyer tinkering with his winning combinations and formula.
Last year the Boks only managed to win nine of their 13 Tests while they have won a single match in 2015 from five Test outings.
Historic defeats to Argentina in this year’s Rugby Championship and last weekend’s embarrassing loss to Japan signaled a low point in not only Springbok rugby but also Meyer’s tenure.
Meyer suggested the Boks would return to the game plan they employed prior to 2014 with the side looking to find some forward domination earning attacking licence for the backline.
“I don’t think we are playing to our strengths, the instruction is to just that, it doesn’t help you play attractive rugby where you score tries but all that matters at a World Cup is a win,” Meyer said.
“It doesn’t matter how you do it whether you score one or two tries as long as you win even if it is one point more than the opposition.”
Meyer said the team needed to play ‘knockout’ rugby to ensure they remained in the competition beyond the group stages.
“We have to play knockout rugby and that has been the message from day one unfortunately we didn’t execute and again the coach has to rake responsibility for that,” he said.
“As we’ve seen every single game here is tough and I said before the Japanese game it would be tough so you have to respect your opponents.
“Since we’ve moved away from the way South Africa plays with our strengths we haven’t been successful.”
Saturday's match kicks off at 17:45.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jesse Kriel