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Meyer felt like kissing try-hero Du Preez

2015-10-17 22:33
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo)

Twickenham - South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said he "would like to kiss" Fourie du Preez after the Springbok captain scored a match-winning try in a 23-19 Rugby World Cup quarter-final win over Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

Two-time champions South Africa were a point down with five minutes left when No 8 Duane Vermeulen's superbly-timed pass released scrum-half du Preez to go over on the blindside for the winning points.

Meyer, who first coached du Preez as a teenager and persuaded the 2007 World Cup-winner to end his Test retirement two years ago, said: "I would like to kiss Fourie, especially after that try.

"I always said coaching is over-rated. You have to pick players with character and who perform under pressure.

"If you put pressure on charcoal it turns to diamonds," added Meyer, who made the 33-year-old du Preez his skipper after first-choice Jean de Villiers (jaw) and Victor Matfield (hamstring) were both sidelined through injury.

"He is a tactical genius. He came up with that move and the try was pure genius."

South Africa started this World Cup with the shock of a 34-32 loss to Japan but have bounced back in style.

"I want to thank the people back home," said Meyer.

"Since the Japan game the support has been unbelievable."

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "I'm absolutely gutted. The players emptied the tank.

"Unfortunately, we weren't good enough to hold for on the full 80 minutes," added Gatland, who four years ago guided Wales to a World Cup semi-final in his native New Zealand.

"Credit to South Africa, they stayed in the game."

As for the match-winning try, which saw a couple of Wales defenders sucked in-field," Gatland said: "Potentially Lloyd Williams should have gone in harder for the ball and maybe Alex Cuthbert should have stayed on his wing.

"It was disappointing from us but you have got to acknowledge the skill from South Africa in scoring that try."

Wales captain Sam Warburton said the match turned on his side giving Springbok fly-half Handre Pollard four kickable penalties before half time.

"For me the 12 points in the first half were the most crucial," said Warburton.

"We said we can't give away penalties in that area and we did, so those were the most crucial points we gave away," the flanker added. "It is nearly two tries."

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar kicked 14 points, as well as setting up a first-half try for scrum-half Gareth Davies.

Biggar, however, was off the field when du Preez scored the match-clinching try as he underwent a head injury assessment.

The Ospreys stand-off was visibly unhappy at being on the sidelines, but Gatland said: "That is a medical call -- it looked like he had got a bit of a knock and was a bit unsteady on his feet.

"We support the medical staff 100 percent, there are no issues from the coaching staff."

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