Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
5 Oct 2013
9:00 am

Coach Meyer talks up the Beast

Rudolph Jacobs

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer neatly avoided the sideshows as he spoke about the massive occasion Ellis Park holds for the team and the entire nation today.

FILE PICTURE: Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. Picture: AFP / Patrick Hamilton.

The Boks have won four of the six Tests against New Zealand at fortress Ellis Park since 1992, but the teams haven’t met there since 2004, and nine years seems a pretty long time ago.

While the All Blacks are chasing their 50th Test win over the Boks, prop Beast Mtawarira will earn his 50th Bok cap, after flyhalf Morne Steyn and prop Jannie du Plessis got their 50th just a week ago.

“It seems like I’ve sat here (at the media conference) the last three weeks and said the same thing, but Beast is one of the more likeable players in the squad,” said Meyer.

“It’s an unbelievable experience for Beast, he is a very soft-spoken guy, doesn’t say much, but on the field he always produces the goods.”

In the march towards the 2015 World Cup, the Bok coach has always talked about putting more caps on the players heads, he has reiterated that it takes more than just a conventional approach to get the better of the old enemy.

“We are going out trying to fulfil a big assignment, and while I never said we are going to score four tries (well not in so many words), we want to be positive and try to play constructive rugby,” he said.

“There is also the altitude factor. But the All Blacks are a team who haven’t conceded four tries in a game for the last eight or nine years and back then, the defensive lines were not as well-structured.”

It will be Meyer’s fourth shot at the All Blacks since losing 21-11 in Hamilton, 32-16 at Soweto last year, and 29-15 in Auckland this year. “We have won 10 of our last 11 Tests and are improving,” said Meyer.

“But we are aware that they have a great running game in them.” While many believe the Boks could edge the game, four tries does seem a unlikely target. But a Bok win will also do nicely.