Meyer plays possum in Oz
SPRINGBOK coach Heyneke Meyer cleverly mentioned South Africa's recent poor record against the Wallabies upon arrival in Perth for Saturday's Four Nations clash as he deflected attention from his team's recent problems.
After a 16-16 draw against Argentina in Mendoza nine days ago, Meyer has endured much criticism and knows that beating Australia doesn't come easy despite their own performance issues. He was quick to remind everyone of that fact.
"The challenge that lies ahead is a massive one," Meyer said.
"We've not beaten Australia in our last four matches and have won only one out of our last seven encounters against them. I have a lot of respect for Robbie Deans's coaching and they have a very good squad.
"We also realise we were not good enough against Argentina in Mendoza and we have to improve a lot if we are going to be competitive on Saturday, but we are excited and looking forward to the test."
Deans was also quietly trying to deflect attention from his side's poor start to the tournament by saying that the All Blacks were far ahead of the rest of the competition.
Both Meyer and Deans are under some pressure, the latter far more so than the former. Australians don't do "second" and they especially hate losing to the All Blacks - something that's happened 14 times in 17 matches on Deans' watch.
The Boks know that beating the All Blacks in Dunedin next week will take a Herculean effort and a slice of luck. So their realistic target for a tour win has to be Perth, where they've won three out of six tests against the Wallabies with two defeats and one draw.
"We spent three days back in South Africa refocusing and re-energising and hopefully that will have some benefits as we go forward in the competition," Bok wing Bryan Habana said.
"We set high standards for ourselves and we didn't reach them in Mendoza so we're putting in hard work on the field to make sure we build on the good aspects of game. We've laid some good platforms at times but we've not capitalised on our opportunities.
"Our discipline let us down in Mendoza and we gave away four early penalties that set us on the back foot immediately. We also didn't retain possession that well.
"Fortunately we have a good record in Perth and we enjoy coming here. Australia are also in a bit of a pickle at the moment and they will be dangerous."