Springbok boss Heyneke Meyer believes Saturday's Test with Australia at Newlands will be their biggest match of the tournament.
Springbok boss Heyneke Meyer believes Saturday's Test with Australia at Newlands will be their most important match of the tournament.
There has been plenty of hype around South Africa's final match of the tournament against New Zealand, with many Springbok supporters viewing it as a opportunity to gain revenge after their controversial defeat to the All Blacks in Auckland.
Referee Romain Poite incorrectly yellow carded Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis for a tackle on Dan Carter that eventually led to the hooker being sent off for a second yellow later in the game.
But Meyer revealed that he has moved on from that defeat and that he wasn't thinking of the upcoming Test against the world champions in Johannesburg on October 5.
“The main thing for us is to be positive and to be focused,” he said at a press conference in Cape Town on Monday.
“We can't look past this game (against Australia). This is a must-win game, we gave ourselves an opportunity to win the championship but we're going to have to play two great games and we really want to focus on this game because I think this is the most important one.”
Meyer admitted that it was difficult to come to terms with their loss to New Zealand but the important thing is to put that result to rest.
“It was tough for me but I don't even want to talk about that game,” he added.
“Specifically, that they got five (match) points and we didn't get any. If they got four points and we got one then you probably only have to win your two home games.
“But we have to put that game behind us and my main task is to get the guys focused on this next game and only a good win will be good enough for us.”
He admitted that despite the Wallabies' lowly position on the points table, he will not underestimate them and he has told his players to secure the win before thinking of a claiming a try-scoring bonus point like they did when they beat Ewen McKenzie's side in Brisbane earlier this month.
“The Wallabies are still a quality side,” Meyer said.
“They're ranked in the top four (in the world) and have a very good back-line and forwards.
“We have to win this game to still give us a chance to be in the championship. I have told the players to focus on the basics and forget about the bonus point.
“We can't look past this game, if we don't at least win it then we are out of the championship.
“There are a lot of scenarios but if you try to work them all out, add and subtract bonus points, then you lose focus on what is important which is working hard on our own game.”
Meyer also revealed that he hopes to continue with his attacking game-plan that has helped the Boks to become the leading point-scorers in this year's tournament.
“We will play positive, attack and hopefully score tries,” he added.
“I have been very proud of our attacking level this season.
“We have scored the most tries and recently recorded our highest winning margins against Argentina and Australia away and that speaks for itself.”
Meanwhile, Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts revealed that three members of the squad are currently being treated for niggling injuries, but the medical team is hopeful they will be fit for selection to face Australia.
Lock Flip van der Merwe (hamstring), centre JJ Englebrecht (quad muscle) and prop Guthro Steenkamp (AC joint) all picked up their injuries in the Test against New Zealand in Auckland.
Roberts said while none of these complaints are too serious, the players will be carefully managed in the coming days.
“GurthrÃ¶ and JJ trained with the squad on Monday morning, although they did not do the entire session,” he explained.
“Flip didn't train on Monday, but he's already improved a lot since the match in Auckland and we'll give him all the time he needs to fully recover.”
By David Skippers, in Cape Town