Boks using tour as World Cup trial

Date published: November 5 2013

South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer is targeting significant improvements from his side against Wales on Saturday.

South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer is targeting significant improvements from his side against Wales on Saturday.

The Springboks arrived in the UK having won seven out of nine matches so far in 2013.

Second best to New Zealand in The Rugby Championship, Meyer stated that his squad had to improve on their execution on tour as they face Wales, Scotland and France.

“This is a totally different game than the Rugby Championship, it's more of an arm-wrestle,” said Meyer.

“We have to change the way we play, we have to be more clinical and execute better.”

“In our last end of season tour we learnt a lot about our players. A lot of players from that tour aren't here any more.

“It's very important to have the World Cup in the back of your mind, to see which players can play at this level against three tough teams and in these difficult conditions.

“By the end of this tour we should be close to knowing 25 of the 30 players who will go to the World Cup.”

Meyer revealed frustration at his side's ability at times to fail to capitalise on large swathes of pressure, comparing the attacking prowess of the Springboks and New Zealand in the All Blacks' thrilling 38-27 win at Ellis Park.

“In these conditions you are not going to have as many opportunities so you have to convert those into points,” added Meyer.

“Against New Zealand [at Ellis Park on October 5] we had 17 line-breaks and scored just four tries, they had seven line-breaks and scored five tries. That's not good enough, we get a lot of opportunities and don't use them.

“Our scrumming was awesome in the Rugby Championship, we gave the least amount of restarts and the least amount of collapsed scrums.

“I think we have really improved at the breakdown, but here in the northern hemisphere it is more 50-50 on the ground.

“Our lineouts have been close to 100 percent, though I'm not happy with our kick-offs. We give away too many turn overs, we need to look after the ball better. Here [in the northern hemisphere] you need to be patient and wait for your opportunities to convert pressure into points.”

Focusing on the hosts on Saturday, Meyer has described Warren Gatland's team as “unbelievable” after winning back-to-back Six Nations titles.

“Wales are an unbelievable team, they have shown they can beat the best,” said Meyer.

“They have been together for a while now and have a simple game-plan but they execute it very well.

“They are a very balanced side, big backs, big forwards, great rushing defence and they can score tries as well. We see this as a very big game for us, a huge challenge.”