Heyneke Meyer and Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Heyneke Meyer knows what it is like to be a part of the Bronze Final at a Rugby World Cup.
He was assistant coach to Nick Mallett in 1999, when the Boks defeated the All Blacks 22-18 in what was then known as the 3rd/4th place play-off.
And while a victory over the 'old foe' is always welcomed by the Boks, the week in the build-up to that match had been a difficult one after that freakish Stephen Larkham drop goal in extra time had contributed to the Springbok demise in the semi-final.
Now, 16 years later, Meyer is back in the same position ... though this time around he is finding the experience a whole lot tougher.
"I think when you’re an assistant, only when
you’re a head coach do you know what the head coach actually goes through," Meyer said after announcing his side for Friday's clash against Argentina.
really tried to support Nick those days, you feel for them. In those days there
wasn’t as much social media as there is today. I know what he went through at
the end. I was there for him, I supported him, I felt for him … it was the same
"But once you’re a head coach you take it … maybe a thousand times more personally and the buck stops with you."
Meyer can still find similarities between his experiences this year and in 1999, and he remembers how difficult a time it was for Mallett all those years ago.
"It’s probably the
toughest week to go in when your hopes and dreams are shattered … and then you
have to regroup and go out there and quality performance," said Meyer.
"It was very difficult
back then, but I’ve learnt from that situation and I thought Nick handled it
well. All the players were in despair back then and I think the same now. This
is all going to be about mental toughness."
Kick-off on Friday is at 22:00.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein
15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Nicolas Sanchez (captain), 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Javier Ortega Desio, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matas Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Substitutes: 16 Lucas Noguera, 17 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Pablo Socino