Meyer apologises to nation ... AGAIN!

2015-09-19 22:07
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 Brighton.

"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."

Meyer 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.

"We 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."

Japan coach Eddie Jones - who knows several Springbok players well from his time as part of the 2007 World Cup winning coaching team - disagreed on that point.

"The 'Boks will come back, they are a proud group," said Jones.

"Maybe 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.

"We 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 track."

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.

"We 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 set.

"It is really difficult to say where it went wrong but it was not good enough."


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