Heyneke Meyer says the Springboks achieved their primary objective at Newlands: keeping their Castle Rugby Championship title dreams alive, reports JON CARDINELLI in Cape Town.
The disappointment was patent in the aftermath of Saturday's Test. The Boks had just completed a convincing 28-8 win over the Wallabies, but the South African players reacted to that final whistle as if it signalled a failure.
In a sense, the Boks had missed an opportunity. They had raced to a 20-3 lead in the first quarter of the game, and would have expected to complete a bonus-point victory in the 60 minutes that remained. Banking the bonus point would have boosted their standing on the Rugby Championship log. It would have ensured that they didn't head into the final game against the world champions with too much to do.
But that opportunity has gone. The Boks thumped an abjectly poor Wallabies side, as the 28-8 scoreline will confirm. It was a big win, in isolation, but a missed opportunity in the context of the Boks' Rugby Championship ambitions.
Afterwards, the Bok coach played down the team's failure to secure the bonus point. Meyer conceded that it was not a perfect performance, but declared himself satisfied that the dream of winning the title is still alive.
Commenting on the player's reaction of disappointment after Saturday's result, Meyer said that this served to show the team's high standards.
'I think that's a great sign after you score a record win like we did over Australia at Newlands,' Meyer said. 'I'm proud of what we did out there.
'It was a game that I was really worried about beforehand. Of course, there are a few areas in which I feel we underperformed, and we didn't get the bonus point. But we have done enough to ensure that we're still in with a chance to win the Championship, and that's what matters.
'I don't think I could ask for much more... except maybe for us scoring four tries against the All Blacks next week, and keeping them from getting a bonus point,' he added.
Captain Jean de Villiers was one of those players who declared himself disappointed immediately after the win. At the post-match press conference, however, De Villiers sought to focus on the positive.
The Boks did not play to their potential at Newlands, but they will still have a chance of winning the Championship at Ellis Park next week.
'Yes, we made mistakes,' he said. 'There were times when we didn't capitalise on our chances. But the bottom line is we will have the chance to play against the best team in the world next week. We will have another opportunity to test ourselves and see where we stand.'
Photo: Ian McNicol/Getty Images
Matera makes first impact
Pablo Matera has the potential to become a legendary loose forward for the Pumas, writes FRANKIE DEGES.
Boks still finding their feet
A healthy dose of patience and perspective will be required when assessing the Springboks this season, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
What we’ve learned
Five lessons from the past weekend's Super Rugby final, according to CRAIG LEWIS.