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?
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins wins the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
(David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor