Meyer: ‘Habana came off due to cramp’

Date published: October 31 2015

South Africa boss Heyneke Meyer revealed that Bryan Habana was suffering from cramp when he was brought off in the second half against Argentina.

Habana's was withdrawn after 65 minutes and missed out breaking the try-scoring record at the Rugby World Cup as a result, not to mention some earlier missed chances, as he finishes tied on 15 with Jonah Lomu.

"I just felt that Bryan was cramping, most of the backs were, so it was a tough decision. Bryan came off because he couldn't play any further," said Meyer.

"I'm proud of the guys because it was a tougher week than Japan for me to get the guys up, because we really wanted to win the World Cup for our country.

"A lot of tired bodies out there, everyone was cramping and I knew with a fresh side they would be dangerous in the last 20 minutes. It was great to see everybody get a chance."

Meyer paid tribute to his captain Victor Matfield after his final game for his country, with the 38-year-old making 16 tackles.

"Victor is one of the greats to ever play the game, just the type of man he is as well," added Meyer.

"Not a lot of people take the chance to come back and continue their careers and it was a special moment for me that he he ended this game as a captain and that I was involved as I've been coaching him for quite some time.

"He's probably the best lineout jumper of all time. There been some criticism about him coming back but it shows the character of the man. I've always said a lot of people dream dreams but don’t take the chance to make it come true.

"I’m proud of him also for the way he is off the field and he’ll probably go down as the best player to ever play for South Africa."

Of his own emotions, Meyer admitted that he had taken criticism of his side hard because of how determind he was to help the Springboks become world champions again.

"I take it very personally," he said.

"From the Rugby Championship, where we were so close in all the games. I must say it was really mentally tough after Japan. I felt the pressure not because of the criticism from back home, but because I want to win for my nation. 

Today is just a relief. Sometimes you wonder why you coach, because you can never win as a coach in South Africaa, but I just love my team and my country.

"Part of me still thinks we were good enough to be there [in the final] tomorrow. I’m probably more sad now than relieved because we were so close."