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Meyer happy to be written off as NZ loom

2015-10-18 12:06
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo)

London - South Africa's tense 23-19 victory over Wales on Saturday has set up a Rugby World Cup semi-final against a rampant New Zealand, but it is the kind of daunting fixture that coach Heyneke Meyer hopes will bring out the best in his side.

When the tournament draw was made three years ago, the teams always appeared set for a last four showdown, though the Springboks have failed to look fully convincing on their way to this stage of the competition.

After his team defeated the All Blacks in Johannesburg during the 2014 Rugby Championship, a jubilant Meyer felt it was a victory that gave them the belief they could force a repeat at the World Cup.

However, it also served as a rare success for the Boks against their great Southern Hemisphere rivals, that has seen them manage just two wins in their last 12 meetings.

The All Blacks, so devastating in their 62-13 rout of France in their quarter-final, are an open book to the Boks but knowing what is coming and how to deal with it are two different things entirely.

"I hope people write us off again, that seems to work," Meyer told reporters after the Wales victory. "We have said from day one that if you want to win the World Cup you have to be able to beat every other team.

"The margins in this competition are so small. Every single team has a quality coach.

"We all plan well, we all look at videos, we all study each other and as a coach you know what's coming. You prepare for it, but it is about how the team executes on the day that makes the difference."

Despite a roller-coaster tournament that included a shock 34-32 loss to Japan in their opening match and a giant scare in the quarter-finals against Wales, Meyer has kept faith that his side can go on and lift the World Cup trophy for a third time.

"As South Africans, we believe only a (tournament) win is good enough. There's no reason why we can't, but obviously it's not going to be easy," he said.

"The most important thing for us now is to recover. Mentally it has been tough for us in every game since the first one."

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