Meyer to return to drawing board?

Date published: August 10 2015

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Where to from here for the Springboks and their under-fire coach Heyneke Meyer after their humiliating Rugby Championship loss to Argentina?

Meyer is at a proverbial crossroads with just over a month left before the start of the Rugby World Cup.

South Africa's performance in their first-ever defeat to Argentina means the Boks are the closest yet to hitting rock bottom during Meyer's tenure.

The defeat had dire consequences for the two-time World Cup winners as it meant that Argentina leapfrogged them on the final Rugby Championship table into third place.

Although Meyer tried to put on a brave face after the match, he must be wondering if he is on the right path with the global showpiece just around the corner.

He has to go back to the drawing board and question himself on some of his tactics and selections.

What was very concerning in the loss to the Pumas is that the Boks were outplayed in areas of play which they usually dominate.

The Boks were poor in the scrums and line-outs. Argentina also won the collisions and bossed them at the breakdown.

Several players will also be questioning themselves after disappointing performances and don't be surprised if some experienced players miss out on World Cup selection.

And to make matters worse, stalwarts like captain Jean de Villiers, Marcell Coetzee and Willie le Roux suffered injuries which is the last thing the coach wanted so close to the World Cup.

To be honest, De Villiers' injury is a blessing in disguise. Make no mistake, he is one of the greatest Springboks of the modern era and one of the best leaders currently in the game, but I think he was been rushed back to soon.

Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel were blossoming into a fine midfield combination and with hindsight Meyer will admit that it was a mistake to break up that partnership.

Meyer has been villified by Bok supporters in South Africa after Saturday's loss to Argentina and it will be interesting to see how he reacts to his predicament.

Meyer's current situation is similar to the one which his predecessor, Peter de Villiers, found himself in back in 2008.

After taking over the reins from Jake White as the Bok coach, De Villiers was booed at a Test in Durban when his side lost to the Wallabies.

This after the new coach tried to introduce a more expansive style of play. De Villiers saw the error in his ways and eventually reverted to the Boks' traditional conservative game-plan.

The difference between that situation and Meyer's is that De Villiers' run of bad results came a few months after he started in his job. Meyer's crisis is with the World Cup around the corner.

By David Skippers

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