Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Birmingham - An emotional Heyneke Meyer was more pleased with not conceding a try than with South Africa running in six as they resuscitated their Rugby World Cup campaign with a 46-6 win over Samoa on Saturday.
"Attack puts bums on seats but defence wins trophies," the Springboks coach pronounced after the Pool B triumph at Villa Park erased some of the hurt from their opening defeat against Japan.
"To not concede a try, to stick to the game plan and for the players to put their bodies on the line like they did means I must salute my players. It was always going to be a tough game, but the senior players came through. They really listened."
Meyer, with tears welling up during the post-match press conference, said he had insisted on a return to the playing style that best suited South Africa, with driving forwards and a kicking game.
"We went back to what I'm good at and it was great feeling to know that your players really played for you. Maybe I'm crazy as hell but it will be nice to look in the mirror again.
"I told the players before the game. people don't respect our forwards any more. So it was good to see the pack going forward all the time, the driving was superb."
Meyer also made a point of praising the support of the Springboks fans.
"It was really emotional this week, but the Springboks are a source of hope in our country. People were lining up at the hotel before the game and cheering us when we got to the stadium.
"We are a nation that needs help, that needs forgiveness, and the Springboks bring people together. We have a lot of bad things but also a lot of good things in our county. It brought tears to my eyes to see people still believe in the team."