Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de Villiers could not hide their disappointment after being held to a 14-14 draw in the final Test in the Castle Incoming Tour against England. South Africa had already secured the series, 2-0, after victories at Mr Price Kings Park and Coca-Cola Park.
“The players know they haven’t played well,” said Meyer. “We have high standards and we want to win test matches. Tonight we let the country down. All credit to England. They adapted much better than us to the conditions.
“They got behind us once or twice behind us and then defended for their lives. It is no use making excuses – but a lot of our guys haven’t played under these conditions at test match rugby. But no excuses from us – England were the better team on the night”
The Springboks led 9-8 at the interval but held the lead for only 14 minutes of the match as they were unable to convert pressure into points with JPO Pietersne scoring the Boks’ only try of the match in the 62nd minute and Morne Steyn missing three kicks at goal.
“Morne is a worry at the moment and we know he isn’t playing well,” said Meyer. “I thought he played quite well in the previous two games, it was just his kicking that was off. He has high standards and he will be back stronger.”
“He has three Super Rugby games to get himself right and he knows we need him in the Castle Championship. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him, he just isn’t striking the ball well at the moment.”
Jean de Villiers was just as downbeat. He said the Boks failed to execute but also gave credit to England.
“We didn’t play well,” he said. “We lost ball in the set phases and our kicking game wasn’t good enough. I’m not just saying the kickers, but the chasing and contesting in the air, the platform to kick from and everything. You can only play as well as the opposition allows you and credit must go to England for the way they played.
"I thought we did well to come back and get the lead. We had an opportunity to finish off the game and we made a mistake and they came back and equalled things up.
“As long as we move forward and learn from our mistakes it is fine, but if we keep on making the same mistakes then that is a worry.”