Heyneke Meyer (AP)
Cape Town - When the Springboks were stunned by japan in their opening Rugby World Cup match there were few who were optimistic about the side's chances at the tournament.
But four wins later and with a quarter-final against the Welsh penciled in for Saturday, the Boks are once again being bracketed as potential title contenders.
According to coach Heyneke Meyer, the loss to Japan and the fact that the Boks have had their backs against the wall ever since is what has helped them rediscover some form at this crucial stage of the tournament.
"You can see I’ve got much more grey hair. It’s not easy when you come to the World Cup and from the first game you have to win every single game. I think it’s helped us," Meyer said at the team announcement on Wednesday.
"But you have to look at your opponents and respect them, they’ve also been under huge pressure in their pool. So it’s probably the same for both teams, probably a little bit more for us.
"One thing we’ve sorted out is the way we want to play … now we’re slightly hitting form."
The Boks have conceded just one try in three matches since Japan, and that is a major part of what has pleased Meyer in the pool stages.
"I’m very happy with our defence at the moment ... they’re really going to test our defence," he said.
"We’ve sorted out our game plan and we’re playing knockout rugby at the moment and hopefully we can take that further."
Kick-off at Twickenham on Saturday is at 17:00.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (captain), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.