London – Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer believes South African players are not skilful enough to compete on an equal footing with their New Zealand and Australian counterparts.
Meyer feels most of the Boks in his World Cup squad are ill-equipped to play a dynamic brand of winning rugby. It is for this reason that he decided to revert to a more pragmatic approach after the shock 34-32 defeat against Japan in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup against in Brighton.
The Bok coach believes the Boks are at their best if they play their traditional power game where they smash their opponents into submission rather than using skill and guile to outsmart their opponents.
“We don’t have the skills how can we play differently,” he said when asked if the Boks will consider adapting their style of play again in the future.
“We managed to beat the USA 64-0 which was their biggest loss in their history. If you look at the score line between Scotland and Australia (in the quarterfinal) and what we did against them (Scotland), then surely it’s the right style of playing.
“At halftime (in the semi-final against New Zealand)) we were five points ahead of the All Blacks, but we were unfortunately tactically not good enough when the rain came down,” he said.
Meyer used the Japan game as an example where things went horribly pear-shaped when they tried to play an expansive game.
“The strange thing that no one knows is that when we played Japan we opened up the game. That was the wrong game plan. We scored four tries against three with great rugby, but we still lost. So, you have to have different skills to have different game plans,” he explained.
When asked why he still wants to continue as Bok coach he said: “I want to make a difference because I know how great this team can be. Everyone is criticising. Nobody is going out there – including old players and coaches – and doing something to change it. I’m not a miracle worker. That’s what people think, but it’s easy to just criticise the whole time. I have always been part of the solution and not the problem,” he added.