Edinburgh – South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said he was happy to accept an “ugly” 21-10 win over Scotland in Saturday's Test match at Murrayfield as he continues to rebuild the Springboks for the 2015 World Cup.
It was the second straight week that the 2007 World Cup winners had been made to work hard for their win.
But whereas last Saturday, the Boks had to bounce back to defeat Ireland 16-12 after a slow start in Dublin, this time around they had to hold on against a late surge from Scotland in Edinburgh to pull off a 21-10 triumph.
Meyer said that two wins out of two in Europe ahead of next Saturday's tour finale against England at Twickenham was more than acceptable for him.
“All credit to Scotland, they played superbly and just great, great defence kept them out,” he said.
“It was not a great game but I'll take an ugly win.
“We know we can play much better but we mustn't take anything away from Scotland.
“They came out and gave everything for their country. I think they can be proud of what they achieved today.
“We're in a learning curve and I thought the guys didn't panic. Our defence was awesome.”
The South Africans travelled to Europe on the back of a disappointing inaugural Rugby Championship when they finished third out of four behind the rampant All Blacks and Australia and ahead of Argentina.
Recent autumn series losses to both Ireland and Scotland indicated a tough battle ahead for the South Africans and so it has proved, but Meyer believes his team are on the right track.
“I thought we were in control for most of the first half and just after half time suddenly there was huge swing in the momentum of the game, then we held on but that is how you win trophies and World Cups and the guys will definitely learn from this because we were under huge pressure to keep them out.
“Scotland played really well in the second half and I thought our defence was awesome. This team has to learn and we have to improve.”
Boks skipper Jean de Villiers said that he took as much pride from his side's backs-to-the-wall second half display when Scotland opened up than in the first when the visitors dominated throughout.
“A lot was said last week about Scotland scoring three tries against New Zealand, the number one team in the world and we managed to keep them out so I think it's something that is sustainable and as long as that is there you can see that the team means something to the individuals and for me as a captain that is really pleasing,” the Stormers centre said.
One note of concern to Meyer was his misfiring back division which made little inroads on the Scottish defensive lines, with both tries coming from hooker Adriaan Strauss.
But that he felt had a lot to do with the rigours of a long season, which will come to an end with the game against England next week.
“Athough we made a lot of mistakes I am still happy with the performance and the character of this team has improved,” he said.
“I don't want to use this an excuse but it's been a long year and for a lot of the guys in the second half it just wasn't there.”
One more push, he feels, at Twickenham will see the Springboks well into their stride in a period of transition he was selected to oversee. – Sapa-AFP