Meyer: It was great to win, but ...

SA should have scored three more tries against the Wallabies, says Heyneke Meyer.

SA should have scored three more tries against the Wallabies, says Heyneke Meyer.

The Springboks and the All Blacks square up at the 90 000-capacity Soccer City stadium where late tries by flanker Richie McCaw and full-back Israel Dagg saw the visitors snatch a 29-22 victory two years ago.

South Africa will enter the final-round Rugby Championship clash with their confidence boosted by a five-try 31-8 victory over Australia at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria on Saturday.

Right wing Bryan Habana scored three tries and full-back Zane Kirchner and flanker Francois Louw one each as a fired-up Springbok pack set the platform for a convincing first success against the Wallabies in six attempts.

But Meyer was not getting carried away after the Springboks ended a dismal run in which a lucky draw away to Argentina was followed by losses in Australia and New Zealand.

"We have high standards and should have scored three more tries against the Wallabies," said the coach who transformed the Northern Bulls into Southern Hemisphere provincial juggernauts and also worked with the Leicester Tigers.

"It is great to come home and win and we have not beaten Australia for some time, but we have to start taking those opportunities," he told a media conference at Loftus.

'Settled side'

"While we want to score tries again next week, we are aware of the challenge of playing the world champions. New Zealand are a very settled side and a number of players have been part of their defensive system for ages.

"They are the world champions and one of the reasons for that is their defence. It is going to be really difficult to create and score against them," stressed Meyer.

"We will need to be more patient with ball in hand and more tactically astute.
If we get scoring chances, we will need to make them count. We are hoping that all South Africans get behind us."

There is cause for Springbok optimism as they could have beaten New Zealand in Dunedin this month instead of losing 21-11 had seven kicks at goals not been fluffed, and endless possession squandered through mindless kicking.

That defeat led Meyer to drop long-time flyhalf Morne Steyn and 20-year-old replacement Johan Goosen recovered from a couple of early missed penalty attempts in his first Test start to regularly bring the backline into play.

Centre Jaco Taute also did well on debut after Francois Steyn withdrew with an ankle injury and flank Francois Louw from English club Bath was the pick of a Springbok pack that impressed in the set piece and loose exchanges.

Australia lost so many players to injury—centre Adam Ashley-Cooper was the most serious with concussion—that they ran out of replacements and played the last eight minutes a man short.

Full-back Berrick Barnes, centre Pat McCabe and prop Benn Robinson were other first half casualties and number eight Radike Samo quit during the second half with wrist and shoulder problems.

"We are going to have to bring some players across from Australia which will be challenging because we have already delved so deep into our resources and there are a couple who will not have visas organised," said coach Robbie Deans.

Champion performance

Meanwhile, wing Cory Jane scored three of New Zealand's seven tries as the All Blacks put in a world champion performance to beat Argentina 54-15 on Saturday.

The other New Zealand winger, Julian Savea, also scored two tries in an open match in which the Pumas also crossed the All Blacks line twice, most notably with scrumhalf Martin Landajo's opening try of the match.

A noisy 45 000 full house at the Etadio Unico were treated to some exciting running from both backlines with the All Blacks enjoying a clear edge when it came to slick handling and finishing.

"When we started out four or six weeks ago, the goal was to put last year behind us. We've got the tag of being world champions and we needed to play like them," All Blacks captain Richie McCaw told the post-match news conference.

"To secure the Rugby Championship was obviously the big goal and it's nice to be able to do that, but I think tonight to put out that performance is something the guys are pretty happy about."

Pumas Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, whose side face Australia in Rosario next week in their final match of the competition, admitted the home side had been well beaten.

"They're the world champions," he said. "We started well but we couldn't control them. We made more mistakes than usual.

"It's annoying but next week we have another match and we've got to pick ourselves up. We have to recover quickly from the blows and turn the page."

Argentina, whose former prop Omar Hasan—now an opera singer—sung both anthems, showed their intent to run the ball at every opportunity and went ahead within nine minutes.

The Pumas won a lineout on the left inside their own half, the ball was passed inside to fullback Lucas Gonzalez Amorisino, who rode two tackles and set off on a diagonal run towards the right.

He was tackled inside the New Zealand 22 but laid off to Landajo, who darted between two players to touch down. Flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez missed the conversion.

Nonu break

New Zealand hit back eight minutes later with the first try conceded by the Pumas in the first half of their championship matches.

Centre Ma'a Nonu broke through the defence at a ruck in the middle and raced for the posts before passing out of the tackle to scrumhalf Aaron Smith, who touched down.

Carter converted to put the All Blacks ahead and then put over a penalty for a 10-5 lead at the halfway point of the first half.

The All Blacks then scored a second try through Jane in the left corner after a break by number eight Kieran Read, with Carter again converting.

Flyhalf Hernandez and Carter exchanged penalties before a brief tale of two interceptions.

First the Pumas snapped up a loose ball and moved play out right where wing Gonzalo Camacho dropped the ball to allow Savea to kick ahead, chase and touch down.

Savea scored his second try in the corner as the half was winding down after several phases of All Blacks attacks and, with Carter's conversion, New Zealand went in at halftime 32-8 ahead.

Argentina pinned New Zealand back into their half from the restart and after several phases of attack won a penalty. They chose to run and were rewarded when Camacho picked up from a ruck and scurried over to score their second try.

Again, New Zealand hit right back with Jane's second try at the end of a move that began on the far side after a lineout.

A lot more running of the ball by both teams, amid a myriad of replacements in the final quarter, failed to deliver another try for the home side but Nonu crossed and Jane secured his hat-trick for New Zealand. - AFP

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