Meyer: I should have given Morne a miss
SPRINGBOK coach Heyneke Meyer has admitted that he was wrong to persist with flyhalf Morne Steyn for as long as he did in Saturday's Four Nations defeat against the All Blacks.
The off-form Steyn - who owes his continued stay in the Bok starting line-up to Meyer's argument that he is the team's best goalkicker - missed four kicks at goals while the visitors missed seven out of nine attempts at goal at the enclosed Forsyth Barr stadium.
Meyer was asked to explain why Steyn was allowed to dig a deeper hole for himself, and the team, in the second half.
"I thought Morne would find his rhythm.
"Sitting here afterwards it is easy to make calls but it is a life and death situation for me, and maybe I made the wrong call. But Morne usually comes back and kicks well."
With youngster Johan Goosen making a strong case for a start with each passing stint as a replacement, Meyer said he was wary of throwing him to the wolves to satisfy the clamour for him to depose Steyn.
"I've always said that I'm going to bring Johan Goosen through and give him game time," he said.
"But Johan had struggled with his goal-kicking in training during the week and he is still only 20 years old and he hasn't played for almost three months."
The poor goal-kicking, poor discipline and missed opportunities undermined a performance heavy on grit against the All Blacks, resulting in a 21-11 defeat that slightly flattered the hosts.
But while Meyer can rightfully point to poor execution, the Springboks' preoccupation with hoofing good possession away also invites closer scrutiny.
The All Blacks actually kicked the ball more but they were less inclined to boot possession that could be put to better use.
One local columnist described the Boks' modus operandi as: "the tactics South Africa pursue are deathly dull and as dated as the mullett, flared jeans and lava lamps".
But Meyer was defiant: "I believe we played the right game plan."
Given the amount of good possession the Boks had, it is obvious that they need to expand their attacking horizons if they hope to keep up with the game's pace-setters. Winning the ball is one thing, putting it to good use is another.
Looking to the Boks' remaining two games in the competition, a raft of changes is highly unlikely, but expect Coenie Oosthuizen to be added to the group.
Oosthuizen, who was deployed as a tighthead against England before he got injured, impressed in his short stint.
If he makes his comeback against the Bulls at the weekend, he is likely to take over from loosehead Dean Greyling.