Pienaar out of Rugby Champs

Ruan Pienaar will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship after suffering a knee ligament injury in the defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington.

The Springbok scrumhalf was carried from the field in the 36th minute and team doctor Craig Roberts has confirmed the 79-Test veteran likely to face several months on the sidelines. With Fourie du Preez currently out with an ankle injury, the Boks' depleted scrumhalf stocks will be tested in the coming weeks.

In a further disappointment to the Bok camp, Francois Louw's participation has been shrouded in doubt after irritating a nerve in his arm. He will have scans after returning to South Africa before a call is made regarding his continued involvement in the tournament.

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer lamented a missed opportunity, as his side failed to score a late try late that would've secured their first victory over their illustrious rivals since 2009.

'I will never be happy when the Boks lose, even if it’s away from home against a great team such as New Zealand,' said Meyer.

'We wanted to keep the ball in hand, but made a number of mistakes close to their tryline. Credit though to the All Blacks, they are a quality side. We gave our best and in the end it wasn’t good enough. We probably just didn’t use our opportunities at the end.'

Despite the defeat, Meyer refused to be too downbeat, instead focusing on the positives to come from the performance against a formidable All Blacks outfit.

'I’m very proud of the way in which the guys played, especially our youngsters. The All Blacks used their opportunities better and they probably adapted better to the wet field.

'We should’ve held on the ball better, but I thought we scrummed well, our lineouts were great and our defence was immense against an unbelievable attacking unit. They threw it from pillar to post and were very threatening on attack but the guys did brilliantly on defence and credit must go to [defence coach] John McFarland.

'We were also superb stealing ball on the ground, but in games such as these you need some luck.'

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, who suffered a heartbreaking defeat in his 100th Test, agreed with the sentiments offered by his coach.

'We got so close and it could’ve gone our way but didn’t. It’s a tough one to swallow; a loss against a quality side. We gave ourselves a chance but it was not good enough at the end.

'We believe we can beat them, but it’s much easier said than done and we need to sharpen up on a couple of things.

'There were probably too many mistakes off first phase. I thought our first phase play was good, but we then lost a lot of possession after the initial attack. It’s not a massive concern, though, and we’re backing our systems and improving as a team.'

Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images