Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
London - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer praised his team’s
determination to grind out a 23-19 victory over a gallant Wales side in the
first Rugby World Cup quarter-final at Twickenham on Saturday.
With this victory, the Springboks have booked themselves a
semi-final encounter against New Zealand at Twickenham next Saturday.
Fourie du Preez scored the winning try in the 76th minute
after a finely-executed move from the back of an attacking scrum. The Boks’
other 18 points came via the boot of Handre Pollard, who kicked five penalty
goals and a drop goal.
Wales’ points came via a try by Gareth Davies, and a
conversion, three penalty goals and a drop goal by Dan Biggar.
“We’re still in the competition and I want to thank all our
supporters here and back home for their unbelievable support,” said Meyer.
“This was a proper knock-out match and it could have gone
either way against a quality Welsh side, but our players stuck it out and
showed character and determination when we needed it most.
“I always knew it was going to go right to the wire. The try
Fourie scored to clinch it was something they worked on all week and I’m just
glad we pulled it off.
“I actually wanted to kiss Fourie. I have always said
coaching is overrated. You have to pick players with character and who perform
under pressure. The experienced players, both in the starting team and on the
bench made a huge difference, but I also want to take my hat off to the
Du Preez said the Boks thought they had a chance to clinch
the game around the hour mark, although Wales were still ahead by 19-18 shortly
thereafter when Biggar slotted his third penalty goal.
“We could see a few of their guys lying down and I thought
we had a lot of gas left, so I said to the guys we just have to keep going,”
said Du Preez.
“It was a tough game and they worked hard during the match.
We had to keep pushing and pushing. I thought the guys dug in and produced the