Meyer praises Boks' ability to grind out wins

Head coach believes his young side are primed to peak at Twickenham next weekend

Unbeaten South Africa head for Twickenham this week in a confident frame of mind, firmly believing that not only is the post-World Cup rebuilding on track but that they are learning how to win in European conditions, despite a catalogue of injuries.

All through their Northern Hemisphere trip, Heyneke Meyer, who took over as the Springbok head coach this year, has been making it clear that he sees it as the start of the build-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. While he has had issues with details of the performances against Ireland and Scotland, whom they beat 21-10 at Murrayfield on Saturday, he has been happy with his team's calmness and ability to grind out wins.

His challenge to his troops has been to build on what went right, while absorbing the lessons from the opening two wins, and use them to propel themselves to victory against England and a whitewash of Northern Hemisphere opposition.

"There has been a huge amount of improvement in the way we play," he maintained after a ruthlessly aggressive first 50 minutes and controlled defence in the final half-hour had been enough to see his side through to victory at Murrayfield, following the win in Dublin the week before.

"This is a young team and we have to improve a hell of a lot," he added. "We are not within 20 per cent of where we want to be, but there is one game left and if we win that – well, we haven't been unbeaten for quite some time and that is our main goal.

"It was probably not the prettiest second half but that is how you win trophies and World Cups, so the guys will learn from this because we were under huge pressure. There was great defence in the second half but we still need to learn, we need to improve."

Unusually for the Springboks, who pride themselves on the strength of their set-piece, one of the key areas for Meyer to address was the scrum. While there were hardly any in the first half, the Scottish revival in the final half hour hinged on their dominance in this area and the string of free kicks and penalties that resulted.

"Every scrum was a potential penalty so they could really get into our half and play from our mistakes and play from our penalties," Meyer admitted. "I think that is what rugby is at this level. Though we made a lot of mistakes, I am still happy with the performance and the character that this team showed.

"The second half was almost like the first half against Ireland, just too many penalties. At one stage we gave away seven penalties or free kicks from scrums – just from the setting of the scrums – and if you give that number of free kicks or penalties away, then you are always going to be under pressure."

While Bath's Francois Louw received the man-of-the-match award for his dynamic back-row play, the only Springbok try-scorer was the hooker Adriaan Strauss, with two touchdowns, one as the ball-carrier at the back of a maul, while he could not believe his luck for the second as he intercepted a pass from Mike Blair, the Scottish scrum half, with nobody to stop him making the 30 yards to the line. Patrick Lambie converted the second to add to his three penalties.

That was Blair's final contribution to the game, a possible hint of the future coming when he was replaced by Henry Pyrgos, the Glasgow scrum-half, who grabbed Scotland's only try with from line out move.

Scorers: Scotland: Try: Pyrgos. Penalty: Laidlaw. South Africa: Tries: Strauss 2. Conversion: Lambie Penalties: Lambie 3

Scotland S Hogg; S Lamont, N De Luca, M Scott, T Visser; G Laidlaw, M Blair R Grant, R Ford, E Murray, R Gray, J Hamilton, K Brown, J Barclay, D Denton. Replacements: D Hall for Ford 68, G Cross for Murray 68, A Kellock for Gray 22, H Pyrgos for Blair 47, R Jackson for Laidlaw 68.

South Africa Z Kirchner; JP Pietersen, J de Jongh, J de Villiers, F Hougaard; P Lambie, R Pienaar; G Steenkamp, A Strauss, J du Plessis, E Etzebeth, J Kruger, F Louw , W Alberts, D Vermeulen. Replacements: S Brits for Strauss 76, H van der Merwe for Steenkamp 61, CJ van der Linde for du Plessis 52, F van der Merwe for Kruger 68, M Coetzee for Albe rts 53, M Steyn.

Referee G Clancy (Ireland).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie