Heyneke Meyer (Gallo)
London - Shell-shocked South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer apologised to the
nation after the two-time champions suffered the biggest Rugby World Cup
upset ever against Japan on Saturday.
"It is by far the worst
moment of my coaching career," said Meyer after the 34-32 defeat in
"This is a very big wake up call."
The 47-year-old -
whose side had already been the victims of a historic defeat by
Argentina in the Rugby Championship last month - said the Springboks
must now lift themselves up and win their remaining pool matches to try
to top Pool B.
"We represent a proud nation and I apologise to the nation. We have got to take it on the chin and get back on track.
"It won't be easy for us to do that. But I have to as coach take responsibility for this."
watched powerless from the stands as the most experienced starting
Springboks XV ever turned out allowed themselves to be harried into
countless errors. They never established superiority over a team that
had not won a World Cup game since 1991 against Zimbabwe.
"All credit to them (the Japanese) they did well and they hung in there," said Meyer.
knew they were going to be tough but that we had to concentrate on the
way we play. I thought four tries was going to be enough but our
discipline was not good enough.
"Their defence was brilliant, we didn't get good enough ball and were never on the front foot."
Meyer denied that South Africa had been over-confident going into the game.
"Definitely not, perhaps we paid them too much respect," said Meyer.
"Maybe we should have played more rugby but instead we got lured into a kicking game.
"They've beaten us and deserve all the credit, we never got going and chased the game."
coach Eddie Jones - who knows several Springbok players well from his
time as part of the 2007 World Cup winning coaching team - disagreed on
"The 'Boks will come back, they are a proud group," said Jones.
they were elsewhere today, thinking of something else, like the Samoa
game (next Saturday) or the quarter-finals, and not on today's game."
Meyer admitted that the defeat had sent alarm bells ringing throughout the squad.
"This is a very big wake up call," he said.
"Samoa, Scotland and US are not easy teams. It's going to be tough.
"I said before it would be the toughest World Cup ever.
have to pull together and go through. Players and I must assume
responsibility and it is going to take a huge effort to get back on
For Springbok captain Jean de Villiers the defeat was
another World Cup nightmare to add to the injury that ruled him out of
the 2003 edition and the biceps injury he suffered in the opening pool
game of the 2007 renewal. That resulted in him missing the World Cup
title victory in Paris.
However, the 34-year-old centre - who
only recently returned to the Test arena after a serious knee injury and
suffered a broken jaw in the defeat by Argentina - said Meyer should
not take the blame alone.
"It was just one of those performances that we can't put a finger on," said de Villiers.
were beaten by the better team on the day and we need to takes
responsibility for this performance. It is way below the standards we
"It is really difficult to say where it went wrong but it was not good enough."
READ: MEYER'S APOLOGY AFTER ARGENTINA LOSS