Meyer admits he may have got it wrong
September 15, 2012
South Africa's Morne Steyn struggled with the boot in Dunedin © Getty Images
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has admitted he may have made a mistake by persevering with out-of-form fly-half Morne Steyn in the wake of his side's 21-11 defeat to New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday night.
The Springboks' playmaker endured a torrid time with the boot in his side's latest Rugby Championship outing at the Forsyth Barr Stadium with just one of his five shots at goal hitting the target. His shortcomings, combined with two other misses from centre Frans Steyn, contributed to a defeat that could have easily gone the other way had they enjoyed more success from the kicking tee.
Meyer did eventually replace his No.10 with Johan Goosen entering the fray on the hour mark but the Boks boss hinted that he should have perhaps made that call earlier. "Sitting here afterwards it is easy to make calls but it is a life and death situation for me and maybe I made the wrong call but Morne usually comes back and kicks well," Meyer told the post-match press conference.
"Frans Steyn is a great goal-kicker and (scrum-half) Ruan Pienaar can kick as well. You don't just take a guy off for his goal-kicker. I've always said that I am going to bring Johan Goosen through and give him game time.
"But Johan had struggled with his goal-kicking in training during the week and he is still only 20-years-old and he hasn't played for almost three months. I thought he did superbly for the 25 minutes he was on the field. But we could have changed the goal-kicker. We talked about it at half-time. I thought Morne would find his rhythm."
Meyer refused to be drawn on his future selection, adding: "Morne has also shown in the past that he has mental toughness so it is great to have two fly-halves like that. It's great that Johan is coming through. I will look at the video, take the emotion out of it and maybe make a few hard calls."
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers was also party to the discussion at half-time and added, "You want to show confidence in your players as well and sometimes you have to make those difficult decisions. You make mistakes, I make mistakes. Unfortunately he couldn't kick all of his goals but that doesn't make him a bad player."
As expected, Springboks prop Dean Greyling has been cited for alleged foul play during the game. The replacement was sin-binned in the second half after he was caught striking All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw at a ruck but he has since been called to the judiciary with the citing officer deeming the offence met the red card threshold.
"I didn't see the incident but I'm very big on discipline and it was unacceptable and cost us the game as well," said Meyer. "I want to apologise to Richie and we will deal with it in house. We are a team that prides itself on our discipline and you can't afford these things."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game