Former coach Heyneke Meyer says he will never process the disappointment of the Springboks’ shock defeat to Japan at the 2015 World Cup.
Meyer’s Bok team slumped to a 34-32 loss to Eddie Jones’ Japan in Brighton, in what is regarded as one of the biggest upsets in all of sport, let alone rugby.
Writing his a new book, 7: My Notes on Leadership and Life, which goes on sale this week, Meyer says that loss will be the one result that will always haunt him.
‘I will never be able to process the disappointment of that defeat. Just when I think I have recovered to a certain extent, someone will ask me if it still hurts…
‘My biggest mistake as a Springbok coach was not asking for more time to prepare the team for the World Cup,’ he said.
‘When they beat us, hard work beat talent because talent did not work hard enough. For that, I take full responsibility. As a Springbok coach, I had to insist on more time to prepare the team for the World Cup, but I did not fight hard enough.’
Meyer added he had never felt more lonely than when he returned to his hotel room after the game against Japan.
‘I eventually went up to my room, swiped my card, and as the heavy hotel door shut behind me, I experienced the most extreme sense of loneliness I have ever known. After trying my best to be the team’s light switch in the hours following our defeat, I was now on my own, and what I saw in the mirror was a man the world hated and who had just himself to count on.’
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