Cape Town – South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer admits he faces a pleasant selection headache ahead of the Rugby Championship following the team’s commanding 55-6 thumping of Scotland in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The Springbok coach watched his side, missing as many as 30 players through injury and unavailability, run in eight tries as they overwhelmed the visitors to record their second biggest victory margin over the Scots.
The dominant display has also convinced Meyer that some of the debutants, including the impressive Handre Pollard at flyhalf, are good enough to compete in the Rugby Championship against Australia, New Zealand and Argentina later in the year.
“We have close to 30 guys out so will be difficult to pick a squad once all of them are fit again,” Meyer told reporters.
“Handre is already a matured player and he combined well with (centre) Jan Serfontein today. They are pressuring the first choice players and a lot of the new guys will be contenders for the Rugby Championship.”
After leaking soft tries the weekend before in the narrow 31-30 win over Wales, Meyer was pleased with an improved defensive effort, key to any potential success in the southern hemisphere championship.
“One thing that stands out for me was us not conceding tries,” he said. “We kept the Scots out for those last minutes when other teams would have leaked a try. Our defence was awesome, but we also played very well on attack.”
The Boks do have a worry, however, over veteran scrumhalf Fourie du Preez’s ankle injury, the extent of which is not immediately clear.
“We hope the injury will not prevent him from playing in the Rugby Championship. He will undergo a scan as soon as possible to determine the extent of his injury. His control of the game is important to us for the Rugby Championship.”
Scotland coach Vern Cotter was able to pick out the positives from the defeat for his inexperienced side, saying they would learn from it as they build towards next year’s World Cup.
“It illustrated a lot of the things we are going to have to go away and work on to become competitive before the Rugby World Cup,” he told reporters.
“But honestly, much as we hate losing and especially by a score like that, there are some very positive things to come out of it.
“Adam Ashe played his first game at 20, Grant Gilchrist has come in as captain and done exceptionally well. I think all the players have done well. If we take away what we gave South Africa and add more of what we tried to develop on the field, then we can improve.
“We have to keep doing the good things and take away the bad stuff we didn’t do well. If we don’t offer as many opportunities to the opposition as we did today then we can shift in the right direction.” – Reuters