The Springboks put in one of their better performances in recent years as they broke the Brisbane hoodoo to crush the Wallabies 38-12 in their Rugby Championship clash at Suncorp Stadium. They face the All Blacks in Auckland next, believing they can win.
While the big South Africans have always had the brute strength to beat teams into submission, in recent times they have brought a new dimension into their game, showing an attacking intent that clearly wasn’t favoured, or executed, under former coach Peter de Villiers.
Heyneke Meyer, through a few key selections and a change of attitude has managed to find a good balance, making the Springboks a far more potent threat. On Saturday they were powerful up front then scored some great tries out wide, with both wingers playing their part.
“They’ve kept their physicality but they’ve sped up their game. They’re using their backs a lot more and this will be the first time they’ve had so many bonus points in this competition.” commented All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who will this week be planning ways to counter the challenge.
“That’s a reflection on how they’re using the ball so they’re going to be really, really tough.
Springbok coach Meyer has backed his men, after having won nine matches in a row, to take on the best team in the world when they meet this coming weekend at fortress Eden Park.
While the All Blacks haven’t lost at Eden Park since 1994, they were less than convincing against Argentina and will be missing key breakdown man Richie McCaw. With Bismarck du Plessis and Francois Louw in lethal form in that area against the Wallabies, the Boks will fancy an upset.
“They’re the world champions, they’re No 1 in the world. They’re expected to win at home, and I suppose that places them under pressure,” said Meyer. “We’ll take the underdog tag. I still believe that we have a long way to go, but that doesn’t mean we don’t believe we can win this Saturday.”
Against Australia Morne Steyn’s boot, and an early try to replacement prop Coenie Oosthuizen, gave them a lead that kept them in control for most of the game. In the second half the pressure told and three more very well taken tries gave them a bonus point and sealed the win.
“We’ve set high standards for ourselves. A lesser team would be content with a two from three record (on the road), but we want to win every game. We won’t need any extra motivation in a game against the All Blacks at Eden Park,” Meyer added.
Looking towards the weekend, can the Boks beat the All Blacks?