Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has called on his players to make better use of their opportunities when they contest the knockout phases of the Rugby World Cup.
The Boks qualified for the quarter-finals on Wednesday when they thrashed the USA 64-0 at London’s Olympic Stadium to finish top of Pool B.
The South Africans will now face either Australia or Wales in the quarter-finals at Twickenham on Saturday, October 17 (17:00 SA time).
Despite their convincing win over America, the Boks let a few opportunities go begging - an issue which also hampered them in their winless 2015 Rugby Championship campaign.
At Wednesday’s post-match press conference in London, the Bok mentor urged his players to be more clinical.
“I know we’ll be much better prepared, but we’ll probably face one of the best teams in the world,” said Meyer.
“We were so close in the (Rugby) Championship, we lost right at the end to Australia and New Zealand.
“We’ve been so close but we’ve learnt from that. Championship rugby is about discipline and defence and then when you get one or two chances you have to take that. And we had a few chances that we didn’t take, so we have to be more clinical and use every single opportunity because out of the top 10 sides - even a side like Japan - any team can beat any team.”
After losing 34-32 in their opening game to Japan, the Boks were under immense pressure and treated every game like a knockout encounter.
“I believe the fact that we’ve been under so much pressure every single week was really tough on the players, but luckily we’ve got a little break now and we’ll learn from that. You can’t afford to make mistakes in knockout games,” continued Meyer.