Meyer: Boks to remain humble

2014-06-18 19:06
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo)

Mbombela - Following their comprehensive 38-16 victory over the Welsh last weekend, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has said his side would keep their feet grounded ahead of the second match in Mbombela on Saturday.

"What we've achieved up to now is great, but we still want to improve," Meyer said at the team announcement in the Mpumalanga capital on Wednesday.

"I think we are on the right track, but again we always want to stay humble and there are areas that we want to improve."

The Springbok mentor made only two changes to the starting XV to face the Welsh for the second time in as many weeks.

It was an almost uncharacteristic start to the Test season, as the national side usually had to deal with rust this early in the year.

Meyer - typically reluctant to talk his team up too much-- spoke candidly of how well the Springboks were performing.

"Don't take it the wrong way, we scored almost four tries per game last year and that was against the best teams in the world, and it was home and away," Meyer said.

"We won eight matches on the trot away from home, we scored three against Wales away from home and they didn't score any tries, two tries were disallowed against France otherwise it was four tries.

"But there are always high hopes from the people and expectations from the Boks."

The two changes to the run-on side were among the forwards where loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira, who will again wear the number-one jersey in the place of Gurthro Steenkamp.

Lock Bakkies Botha would be rested, giving him time to fully recover from a niggling Achilles heel injury.

Flip van der Merwe earned a starting berth after he missed last week's match as he attended his brother's wedding.

Van der Merwe would continue his successful lock combination with Springbok captain Victor Matfield, who will become the most-capped Test player in the history of South African rugby when he leads the side out in his 112th Test match.

Matfield made his Test debut on June 30, 2001 against Italy in Port Elizabeth and retired after the Rugby World Cup in 2011 on 110 caps, but has since made a successful return to the game earlier this year.

"He covers a big area and in that regard he is an unbelievable player," Meyer said of Matfield's milestone.

"Not just at the lineouts, but what he brings to the cleans, what he brings with his defence and also with his leadership, at half time he's so calm and getting the guys focused and ready again.

"He is an unbelievable leader on and off the field."

The only other change to the team sees Wynand Olivier replacing the injured Johan Goosen on the bench.

Olivier last ran out for the Springboks against England in Port Elizabeth and has been playing his rugby for Montepellier in France.

While the Alun Wyn Jones-led Welsh suffered a comprehensive beating to the Springboks, Meyer was confident the tourists would be looking to bounce back with a vengeance.

"They will lift themselves and you can't be complacent, you have to take it to a new level," he said.

"I truly believe we scored some brilliant tries, but there were instances where we made few mistakes in the second half, which cost us momentum."



15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Flip van der Merwe ,3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Wynand Olivier, 23 Lwazi Mvovo




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