Meyer's complete faith in tactics

Date published: November 21 2013

South Africa boss Heyneke Meyer believes that if the Springboks maintain their discipline, victory will happen against France.

South Africa boss Heyneke Meyer believes that if the Springboks maintain their discipline, victory will happen against France.

Following up wins over Wales and Scotland in November, South Africa arrive in Paris looking to round off an impressive month with another success against Les Bleus.

Speaking to the press on Thursday, Meyer underlined his belief that regardless of what France were able to produce on Saturday, if South Africa stuck to their tactics and maintained their discipline then a victory would be expected.

“We know that France are going to come at us hard and that they are going to have a big crowd behind them, but we have faced down similar challenges this year and we really believe that if we just stick to what we do, and do it well, then we will be okay,” said Meyer.

“I could write down our game-plan and give it to you to give to France on a piece of paper and it wouldn't bother me. I don't think the way we play is any secret.

“No disrespect to France, who are a good team, but if we play to our ability and get our plan right, it doesn't matter what the opposition bring. The key for opponents is to stop us, and I really feel that if we get our discipline right and play to our structures, we can get what we have come here for.

“We haven't come to Paris to do sightseeing. We have taken a lot of bogeys off our shoulders this year, such as by winning away games in the Rugby Championships and by winning in Brisbane, and we want to break the losing sequence we have against France in France that extends now to 16 years.

“That would be a great way to end what we feel has been a good year for us.”

Re-iterating his annoyance at the Springboks conceding too many penalties and losing players to the bin, Meyer admitted he was unhappy with the current figures for both categories.

Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee have both been sin-binned on South Africa's tour so far.

“I think everyone knows that discipline for me is a non-negotiable and the yellow cards and the penalties are a source of great frustration for me, and I know that we cannot afford a repeat against a team like France,” added Meyer.

“The players know I am strong on discipline, and while I don't want to mention other teams and what they may have been through, at least we don't have any major discipline problems off the field.

“I can't remember one incident off the field since I took over as coach. And even on the field the penalties and the cards against us haven't really been for foul play, but more for professional fouls.

“I know though that that isn't good enough, and we need to take the emotion out of it and take a good look at solving the problem. I am not sure why it has happened, but we seem to be conceding a lot more penalties here in the Northern Hemisphere than we did in the Southern-Hemisphere season.

“I am not happy with the penalties, I can tell you that, and I am also not happy with the unnecessary yellow cards.”

However, South Africa's improved defensive structure and progress at slowing the opposition down at the ruck area were two positives for Meyer – who also praised the growing influence of Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw in open play.

“We've given away more penalties than usual at the breakdown, but we haven't conceded a try in the last five away games in the Northern Hemisphere, and I think that is a major achievement that has come about because Duane Vermeulen, Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Louw and some of the other guys have become very good at slowing down opposition ball,” stated Meyer.

“And we've also become good at facilitating quick ball from the breakdowns, and that has contributed to the massive improvements in our attacking game.

“You just need to look at the tries Bryan Habana scored against the All Blacks at Ellis Park to see the improvement in the skill levels shown by Duane and Francois, as they both featured prominently.”