AFP: South African coach Heyneke Meyer said his side’s 46-6 mauling of Samoa on Saturday will give fresh hope to the rainbow nation hit hard by a shock defeat by Japan.
After falling to a sensational 34-32 loss to the Japanese in their opening World Cup Pool C game, the Springboks responded in fine style with a six-try pounding of the Samoans.
Soul-searching had been deep and painful in the week following that loss to Japan for a nation where rugby union is the national sport, and Meyer did not play down the significance of the result against the Samoans.
“We’re a country that needs hope and forgiveness working for each other,” said Meyer, who came under fire to resign following the Japan loss, the biggest upset in World Cup history.
“We really want to make the country proud. Our country needs a lot of hope and the Springboks are the hope of the country.
“When the Springboks do well the country’s in a good place.”
Meyer added that for such a proud nation, “only winning is good enough”.
“It’s been a tough week,
“It was always going to be a tough game against Samoa.
“We now have to keep our feet on the ground, stay humble. There’s a long way to go.”
JP Pietersen scored a brilliant hat-trick and there were also tries for outstanding flanker Schalk Burger, replacement hooker Schalk Brits and flying winger Bryan Habana, allied with 16 points from the boot of Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie.
But Meyer insisted it was his side’s defence that had caught the eye, containing a rugged Samoa team to just two Mike Stanley penalties.
“I’m proudest of our defence. Samoa are a good side, but they couldn’t get the go-forward,” he said. “The players put their bodies on the line - it was very physical out there.”