Heyneke Meyer maintains that his Springbok side came ‘within millimetres’ of beating both Australia and New Zealand, reports JON CARDINELLI in Johannesburg.
The Boks lost 24-20 to the Wallabies in Brisbane and 27-20 to the All Blacks in Johannesburg. On both occasions, the Boks were overtaken by their opponents in the final minutes. The two defeats have put paid to the Boks’ Rugby Championship title ambitions.
Meyer, however, believes those two defeats could well have been two victories. According to the Bok coach, South Africa may have finished on the right side of those scorelines if they enjoyed a bit more luck.
‘It’s been a matter of two millimetres in both games,’ he said. ‘Last week, Tevita Kuridrani was awarded that try against us [when the ball brushed the tryline]. This week, Lood de Jager was just 2mm short.
‘If Lood had scored that try the game would have been very different. If would have impacted on Schalk’s decision to go for three points later in the game. If we scored seven points, and then added three later on, the situation would have been different.
‘It was the difference between winning and losing. The injuries we suffered in the second half also had a big impact. Things have gone against us these past two weeks [with regards to try decisions and injuries]. Surely they can’t go against us again in the next game [when the Boks face Argentina in Durban on 8 August].’
Meyer reminded reporters that the Boks are already missing a host of senior players. The fact that this group has travelled extensively over the past two weeks has also impacted on their fitness levels.
Schalk Burger, who led the Boks for the first time on Saturday, said he was disappointed with his team’s performance in the latter stages.
‘We created a lot of opportunities in this game, and it shows that we are doing something right. However, it was tough to lose the way we did.
‘We are going to have tight games like this at the World Cup. You are going to be in these kinds of situations. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t pull through against the All Blacks on this occasion.’
Photo: Mujahid Safodien/AFP Photo