x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

South Africa's Meyer the merrier with big win in Rugby Championship

South Africa thrash Australia while New Zealand lose McCaw in win over Argentina.

South African players, from left, Ruan Pienaar, Willie le Roux, Zane Kirchner and JJ Engelbrecht, celebrate their victory over Australia.
South African players, from left, Ruan Pienaar, Willie le Roux, Zane Kirchner and JJ Engelbrecht, celebrate their victory over Australia.

BRISBANE, Australia // Jubilant coach Heynecke Meyer praised his Springboks' mental strength and resolute defence as they inflicted their biggest win over the Wallabies in Australia on Saturday.

South Africa overpowered Australia with three tries in eight second-half minutes to run away with a 38-12 win over the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship.

It was the Springboks' first win over the Wallabies in Australia for four years and their first in nine attempts in Brisbane over 42 years. Meyer enthusiastically cheered each of South Africa's four tries, while his team restricted to Wallabies to just four penalty goals in a dominant performance.

"I'm very emotional about the win. I really, really believed in this team. I believe we're growing," Meyer said after the game.

"I truly believe this Wallabies side is a good side. I know how [Australia head coach] Ewen [McKenzie] feels. You're almost on a hiding to nothing. It's only your first and second game - it takes time. They'll be back."

The victory set up South Africa for a showdown with New Zealand, the other unbeaten team in the tournament, next weekend in Auckland.

"We need to be humble next week and even in South Africa [two weeks later] it's going to be a hell of a challenge," he said.

"People believe we can't score tries. We scored 70 points [against Argentina] in South Africa, then we struggled away from home and got criticised and now we've scored four tries again.

"You get this game out of the way, stay humble. Next game it's a tough encounter. Obviously you build. The guys are getting mentally stronger. There's still three tough games to come and the championship waiting.

"Forget this game and start focusing on the next one. It's been a huge, huge mental thing."

South Africa led 16-6 at half time but broke the game wide open in the second half with three tries in eight minutes to keep McKenzie without a win in three Tests since taking over from Robbie Deans as coach of the Wallabies.

Forward Coenie Oosthuizen, captain Jean de Villiers, fullback Zane Kirchner and winger Willie Le Roux scored tries with Morne Steyn kicking three conversions and four penalties.

"In the end you've got to take your moments, you've got to create opportunities and grab them and we didn't do that," McKenzie said.

"We didn't quite get there. We were mixing it and again we played from behind in the whole game on the scoreboard and once we got the yellow card [Michael Hooper] we were two scores behind. Then you shut up shop or you try to win, so we tried to win only to dig a deeper hole."

All Blacks win ... and lose

HAMILTON, New Zealand // The All Blacks 28-13 win over Argentina on Saturday came at a high price, with the team losing captain Richie McCaw to injury for at least four weeks.

The New Zealand skipper had to be assisted from the field around the 60-minute mark and is unlikely to take any further part in the All Blacks’ defence of the Rugby Championship crown.

“He’s done a medial ligament,” coach Steve Hansen said. “At this stage the doctor thinks it’s four or five weeks. Like all injuries he could wake in the morning and feel a lot better but I’m not thinking it’s going to be that.”

McCaw’s absence means Sam Cane is most likely to start against South Africa next weekend. The other major injury to the All Blacks was to their pride as they failed to dominate Argentina as expected.

Their preference to play a fast running game lacked fluency in wet conditions and against the determined defence of the Argentines, leading to multiple handling errors.

Argentina led 7-0 early when a basic handling error by debutant centre Francis Saili let Juan Manuel Leguizamon in for the easiest of tries. The game turned in the 22nd minute when Eusebio Guinazu was yellow-carded for a professional foul.

During his 10 minutes in the sin bin Aaron Smith scored two tries and the All Blacks were suddenly 15-7 ahead. Julian Savea scored the All Blacks’ third try in the second half with the remaining all Blacks points coming from the boots of Dan Carter and Beauden Barrett.

Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez kicked one conversion and two penalties for the Argentina.

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