Bok coach Heyneke Meyer praised his team’s character and commitment after beating Wales 38-16 in Durban on Saturday, dishing out special praise for man of the match, Willie le Roux, calling him the best in the world right now.
The coach admitted that they had a tough week leading up to the Test match, as they had to take to the field with a number of new combinations and debutants.
“It was a tough week with a lot of disruptions. I asked the guys to put their bodies on the line today as it was important for us to start well. I am very pleased with their response and effort, especially in the first half. I am very proud to be coach of this team,” Meyer said.
The coach was pleased with the effort on attack, which resulted in five tries, and he applauded the impact of Willie le Roux at fullback.
“I will take five tries to one anytime, anywhere in the world,” said Meyer. “Last week we scored six against a World XV and now five against one of the top defensive teams around.
“Willie is probably the best fullback in the world at the moment. He is playing with a lot of confidence and has a license to express himself. I am very happy about his progress since he started on the wing last season. I challenged him to improve his aerial skills and defence last season and he did that very well.”
“We wanted to improve our scrummaging and we conceded no penalties there. We have good options in the team, and to see the young guys like Lood (de Jager) and Cornal performing the way they did was very pleasing. Jan (Serfontein) also did very well in his first start, especially as he has not played with JP (Pietersen) in the midfield before.”
More information on injuries will be made available on Sunday, but Meyer indicated that Johan Goosen (knee) and Bakkies Botha (Achilles) left the field in discomfort.
Springbok captain, Victor Matfield, said the scoreline was indicative of his team’s effort, especially in the first half.
“We are happy,” said Matfield. “But there is still some hard work ahead as we made too many mistakes in the second half. However, the nice part of that is that we can put in the hard yards this week. We can only get better the more we play together.
“We made some errors in the second half, but none in the first half. At this level, if you give away ball, you can be without it for 10 minutes.”
The Boks play Wales in the second of their Tests at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit next Saturday.