Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has a “wishlist” for his team at Wednesday’s Rugby World Cup pool game against the USA in London.
While a victory is top of the agenda, Meyer wants his side to do more than that, and cut down not only on their errors and penalties, but tick a number of other boxes when they take on the Americans at the Olympic Stadium.
There are areas that the Boks are currently excelling in – they have looked good in the setpiece and mauls and have scored 13 tries in three games – 9 against the two more fancied opponents in Scotland and Samoa.
But their discipline is still something that troubles them, and when asked what he wanted out of the game in terms of improvement, Meyer was pretty open about which areas he wanted an improvement in.
“Our scrummaging has been very good and that is important, because looking at the USA they have a very good scrum,” Meyer said.
“Without Victor and other senior guys our lineout has been very good. We were at 100 percent in the previous game. I wasn’t happy with our tactical kicking, our exits from our own area wasn’t good enough.
“At the breakdown we have really improved and our discipline wasn’t good enough, although it is still less than other teams, we need to look at our penalties.
“We don’t want to concede any penalties, because the difference in top class games is three points, that’s one penalty.”
Execution is still a bugbear for the side, although they have improved with every game. Saying that, the 10 minutes Scotland dominated in the second half are a concern, especially as a better side would have put more points on the board against the Springboks. Meyer is looking for an improvement in the concentration levels as well.
“We have been much better in terms of execution in the gold zone. We have though, had slight concentration lapses, and especially in the previous game we made too many errors for 10 minutes. We are nowhere near the perfect game, but we have been improving as a team.
“A lot of the guys now are playing well that haven’t played in the offseason. We are getting there but there are still areas we can improve in.”
The Boks aren’t expected to struggle against the USA, but then again they weren’t supposed to struggle against Japan. And while a win is the only thing that matters out of the game, they will want to tick a few other boxes as well.