Meyer tips England as Rugby World Cup contenders
June 20, 2012
Heyneke Meyer has tipped England for success © Getty Images
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has tipped England to be a major force at the next Rugby World Cup.
England will host the tournament in 2015 and the Springboks boss - whose side hold an unassailable 2-0 series lead over Stuart Lancaster's men heading into Saturday's third Test - believes that they could be in contention at the sharp-end.
"The one thing that has impressed me about this England team is their resilience," he said. "In the Six Nations there were a lot of times when they were put to the sword but they always came back. We know they are going to be tough on Saturday.
"Under the right leadership I think they will grow into a strong team and one of the top teams at the next World Cup."
England will contest Saturday's match at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium without skipper Chris Robshaw and scrum-half Ben Youngs due to injury. Meyer praised both men, and noted Robshaw's quality as a leader.
"He has done well, he is a captain, a warrior. I think he is a great leader," he said. "I saw him in the Premiership final and he is a guy that puts his body on the line and leads from the front. They will definitely miss him but they still have some great leaders there.
"It is a pity, [Youngs] is a brilliant player. We knew he was going to do those quick taps and we had worked on it, but he still got us."
Meyer has made three changes for the game, with Gio Aplon and debutant Jacques Potgieter replacing the injured Pat Lambie and Willem Alberts at fullback and blindside respectively. The third change is in the centre, where Wynand Olivier takes over from Frans Steyn, who is getting married.
"He had made his arrangements," Meyer said. "He didn't know he was going to be part of the plans and I was only appointed as coach quite late. One of the guys said he was being clever because none of the guys would be available to go. It will be a cheap wedding for him! No, he made his plans long ago."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September