Heyneke Meyer says the composure of the Boks, and of Pat Lambie in particular, helped clinch the win against the All Blacks, reports JON CARDINELLI in Johannesburg.
The two South African flyhalves both played key roles in the contest at Ellis Park. Initially, it was Handré Pollard who provided the Boks with impetus on attack. Later in the match, the more experienced Lambie was called on to kick the penalty goal that would win the game.
That kick was taken from the Boks’ side of halfway, some 55m out from the posts. While the ball travels further on the Highveld, there was always some doubt that Lambie had the power to clear that distance.
Indeed, the Bok coach revealed afterwards that he wasn’t sure that Lambie's kick would find the mark. And yet, Lambie showed that he not only had the power but the composure to nail the winning kick. Those three points handed the Boks victory, their first against the All Blacks since 2011.
‘I’m glad that I finally know what it feels like to beat the All Blacks,’ Meyer said. ‘I’m so proud of the guys for pulling through at the end. It could have gone either way, and I’m relieved we finished on the right side of the result.
‘I was worried at the end there, when Pat was lining up the kick. Earlier this week, Handré was kicking penalties from 65m out, which is incredible. Then in the warm-up before the game, I asked Pat how far he was kicking them from. He told me that he would attempt a few [long-range kicks] and then come back and let me know how it went. When he didn’t return, I started to worry,’ Meyer said with a laugh.
‘I was worried when I saw him going for goal at the end of the game, because I knew how much was riding on it. It was the difference between winning and losing. Credit to Pat for stepping up. There was a huge amount of pressure, and he handled it superbly.’
Meyer said it was the right call to shoot for goal, as the Boks were at that stage trailing by one point with only one minute remaining on the stadium clock. De Villiers said it was an easy decision to make.
‘I asked Pat if it was within his range, and he said yes. Then I saw him strike the ball. I thought it had another 10 yards on it. It was a terrific kick, and that he went about it so calmly is a sign of a great player.
‘Overall, I thought we were composed. We always believed we could beat them, but we had to go out and do it. It feels good to have ticked that box.’
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