Boks must still improve
DESPITE the Springboks' resounding 31-8 victory over the Wallabies, coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de Villiers have demanded even greater ruthlessness on attack when they take on the All Blacks in Soweto on Saturday.
The Springboks delivered a much improved five-try performance against the Tri-Nations champions, but their appointment with the world champions will require them to raise the bar higher still.
"I'm still not happy with the performance," said Meyer.
"We had three tries that were just a centimetre away but we have to convert that into points. Next week, we have a bigger challenge."
De Villiers was happy the team has put their three-match winless streak behind them but acknowledged "there is still a lot we can improve on".
Apart from being sharper with their execution with ball in hand, the Boks need to convert the points on offer with the boot. Only three attempts from nine prompted a positive response from the flag-wielding officials.
Meyer, though, is unperturbed.
"I won't say the goalkicking is a concern. Johan Goosen struggled the whole week with his ankle. In the warm-up he wasn't 100%. He still had a go. Louis [Koen] works really hard with the kickers. If you want to beat the All Blacks you have to kick over your goals. I think Johan will [get] right with a lot of rest and medication," was the coach's prognosis.
De Villiers denied the Springboks' game plan has been revamped.
"We haven't changed a thing. I think that is what people don't understand. When it comes off, it's great when we can execute and finish off those opportunities. I've said that we need to learn from our mistakes and we did that against the Wallabies."
But he acknowledged that the ball was hoofed down field with much less alacrity.
"Well, the opportunities were there. We always say that there is space somewhere. If the space is at the back, you kick it to get it there. If they take guys back, then there are opportunities to run it. Territorially, I think we played fantastically.
"When you get ahead by 14, 25 points then you can take more chances."
The fact that they had more space was no coincidence. They had a pack in the ascendancy and they had a more rounded flyhalf in Johan Goosen. "I thought Johan played well because he created a lot of space for us," observed rookie centre Jaco Taute.
"This win should have come two weeks ago but didn't because [we are] a young, inexperienced team." he added.
"It is like a rock that you're chiselling and it takes time to create a piece of beauty.
"I don't think the win, as such, is that overwhelming to the players. We have already forgotten about it and the task of beating the All Blacks has started. That's why you play. I can't wait for the opportunity to give them one."