Rugby Championship

Meyer rues injuries at key moments

2015-07-26 12:19
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer was left counting the cost of defeat to New Zealand in the Rugby Championship on Saturday and while injuries may disrupt his World Cup plans further he believes the Springboks are still capable of beating anyone.

South Africa's 27-20 loss to the All Blacks at Ellis Park was the second week in a row they had let a lead slip late in the game.

In their Championship opener in Brisbane last week, South Africa succumbed to a dramatic last-gasp try from Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani, while Richie McCaw's late try lifted New Zealand to victory on Saturday.

While the loss of key personnel to injury played a part in both losses, South Africa's decision making was also a factor.

The Springboks turned down kickable penalty opportunities in the final 20 minutes and went in search of tries instead.

Injuries have been an unwelcome theme for South Africa this year and they now face an anxious wait to assess the damage to their walking wounded.

"Jannie (Du Plessis) has a knee injury, Flo (Francois Louw) injured a shoulder and Vincent (Koch) and Warren (Whiteley) probably have broken ribs," Meyer said.

"This resulted in us having to use the bench much earlier than we wanted, and even using (hooker) Adriaan Strauss as a flanker.

"I am happy that our plans worked well, but when the injuries struck, we lost too much momentum."

The loss of their two nominated tighthead props meant French referee Jerome Garces called for uncontested scrums at a time when the Boks were completely on top.

"It did come at a bad time for us as we were really scrumming well," Meyer said.

There was also disappointment as lock Lood de Jager thought he had scored but was denied by the television match official (TMO), who said his outstretched arm had come up just short of the tryline with the ball.

"I thought we might have the luck with a TMO call in the second half, but like last weekend, it went against us. It is part of rugby, but I really thought we did enough to score there," Meyer said.

Despite a second successive defeat, Meyer said his side were on the right path just months before the World Cup.

"The guys know they can beat anyone. We came within inches of beating both the Wallabies and All Blacks," he added.

"I know we are inches away from clicking."


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