‘Boks showed massive character’

Heyneke Meyer says the Springboks' come-from-behind 31-30 win against Wales in Nelspruit is the best since he started coaching the team in 2012.

The Boks trailed for 78 minutes of the match and only took the lead when Morné Steyn converted a penalty try conceded by Wales, when Liam Williams tackled Cornal Hendricks into touch without using his arms.

'This was my best win yet with the team as these are the matches you coach for. We were down and almost out, but the team showed massive character and resolve to pull this one through,' Meyer said afterwards.

'Wins like this stand out as this is where one’s coaching philosophy and team selection are put under massive pressure. We had to dig very deep against a very good team. It is always difficult playing a tough team in consecutive weeks and we needed some luck out there today. Credit to Wales, who played very well.'

According to the coach, the big difference between the Boks' 38-16 win in Durban and this Test was the way they used their chances to score.

'In Durban we took every opportunity we had and scored. This weekend we did not and nearly paid the price. There is not much between the top sides in the world and I am very happy with the final result. It was an awesome Test match.'

Springbok captain Victor Matfield, who became the most capped Springbok ever by taking the field in his 112th Test, blamed their poor exit play on the closeness of the result.

'Last week we could get out of our own half and apply pressure to Wales in their half. This time around we did not manage to do that and it gave them a lot of space to run at us.

'You need character to win the World Cup and we displayed some of that today,' he added. 'Our defence in last minutes to win the match was testimony of our will and mindset. We won this by coming back from behind. Last week we played well from the start, this time we had to come from behind. We were under massive pressure for most of the match, but came good when it counted.'

Meanwhile, Wales coach Warren Gatland described his side’s loss as 'probably the worst experience of my coaching career –  I’m pretty gutted about it.'

Gatland was quick to praise Steve Walsh, who awarded the late penalty try that cost Wales a first ever win against the Boks in South Africa.

'The referee had a good game and did a good job, but in the last 10 minutes they threw everything at us and it was unfortunate with the penalty try in the last minute,' he said, before criticising his team's decision to go for a long-range drop goal after the hooter.

'Dan [Biggar] had already missed the first one from 40m and he missed the next one from 50m,' he said.

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

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Simon Borchardt