Du Preez is a rugby genius – Meyer

Date published: October 17 2015

Springbok head coach Heyneke Meyer hailed scrum-half Fourie du Preez for devising and scoring the match-winnng try in Saturday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Wales.

With South Africa chasing the game in the dying minutes and struggling to break down the dogged Welsh defence, captain Du Preez used a move he had come up with in training during the week, collecting Duane Vermeulen's offload to cross in the corner and claim a 23-19 win at Twickenham.

In the post-match press conference Meyer revealed that the initial plan had been to try and push for a penalty from the scrum but Du Preez changed the call having noticed the Welsh scrum-half leave a gap on the blindside, just as he had observed during video sessions in their mid-week preparations.

"I can't take any credit for the try, it was Fourie's idea," said Meyer.

"Fourie is the most astute player I have ever coached. He is a tactical genius.

"He was always the guy organising the team. If you look at all the games South Africa play well, he is always playing.

"I will always pick him. His desperation to play for the team is amazing. He came up with that move (off the back of the scrum which led to the winning try) and the try was pure genius.

"He really wants to win. I have known him since he was a youngster and I have known it was the right call to make him captain. The team just followed him. He is a warrior and it showed tonight.

"I would like to kiss Fourie. I have always said coaching is overrated. You have to pick players with character and who perform under pressure. If you put pressure on charcoal it turns to diamonds.

"Knock-out rugby is not always about who plays the best rugby, it's about character," he added.

"Fourie was brilliant. But I also want to take my hat off to the youngsters. To keep Wales out defensively was brilliant. I would go to war with them."

The Springboks battled to open up the Welsh defence but Du Preez explained how he told his team to be patient and stick to the game plan.

"It felt very similar to the 2011 game against them and also the 2011 quarter-final which we lost by one penalty," said the veteran scrum-half.

"Round about 60 minutes, though, I could see a few of their guys lying down starting to slow the game down. I said to they guys, 'look they're out on their feet and we have a lot of gas left, so just keep on pushing and we'll pull through'.

"I tried to tell our guys to take the game to them and go for the knockout punch.

"We had Bryan (Habana) over to the right to pull their defensive over. So I dummied to the right and told Duane to go left.

"Credit to Duane for throwing that pass."