Durban - Coach Heyneke Meyer hailed South Africa fullback Willie Le Roux as the best in the world after a match-winning display in the 38-16 first-Test victory over Wales on Saturday.
Le Roux had a hand in four of the home side's five tries and scored an excellent individual effort as he cut Wales apart with his line breaks and clever use of the boot.
“Willie is probably the best fullback in the world at the moment,” Meyer told a news conference. “He is playing with a lot of confidence and has a licence to express himself.
“I am very happy about his progress. I challenged him to improve his aerial skills and defence last season and he did that very well.”
Meyer was also pleased with South Africa's attacking display and commitment especially after what he termed the toughest week in his tenure in the lead-up to the game following injuries and the withdrawal of Frans Steyn for personal reasons.
“I will take five tries to one any time, anywhere in the world,” he said. “Last week we scored six against a World XV and now five against one of the top defensive teams around.
“It was a tough week with a lot of disruptions. I asked the guys to put their bodies on the line today as it was important for us to start well.
“I am very pleased with their response and effort especially in the first half. I am very proud to be coach of this team.”
Wales counterpart Warren Gatland was less than satisfied with his side.
“They won the collisions in the first half but the boys got to grips with the speed of the game in the second,” Gatland said.
“Some of the guys who came off the bench did very well and (flyhalf) Dan Biggar had a good game. We have to work hard on the breakdown this week and we need to be more competitive in the collision area.
“It's a big challenge to get the boys back up but if we can improve it will make things a lot easier for us.”
The second and final Test is in Nelspruit next Saturday. – Reuters