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Boks continue upward curve but work not done yet

The Springbok captain Fourie du Preez

The Springbok captain Fourie du Preez

THE Springboks recorded their second victory at the Rugby World Cup when they beat Scotland by 34-16 in Newcastle on Saturday, but coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Fourie du Preez warned against any celebrations as there is still one crucial Pool B match left in the tournament.

South Africa will face a four day turn-around before concluding their pool matches against the USA in London’s Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.

The Springboks’ three tries were scored by Schalk Burger, JP Pietersen and Bryan Habana, while Handré Pollard added 19 points with the boot through four penalty goals, two conversions and drop-goal.

Scotland wing Tommy Seymour scored a second-half try. Greg Laidlaw added a conversion and two penalty goals, while Duncan Weir also kicked a penalty goal.

Although Meyer and Du Preez were satisfied with the hard-fought victory over a brave Scotland side, they said everything still depends on the next match.

“Every game we’ve played here has been tough and physical,” said Meyer.

“Tomorrow (Sunday) we’re off to London and we’ll have one proper training session before facing the USA, so we’ll have to keep our feet on the ground and keep the focus.

“Everybody in the squad is very focused on the task at hand and we know we’re not there yet. Wednesday’s match will be another tough battle.”

Du Preez, who captained South Africa for the first time on Saturday, said: “Like last week, everyone stood up today, and we were under immense pressure yet again. But it’s been an unbelievable experience for me to captain this wonderful team.

“We’ve put everything on the line these past two weeks and it’s definitely the most pressure I’ve ever been under. But we’ve not achieved anything yet and we’re still in the same boat – we have to beat the USA to keep alive our chances of reaching the playoffs.

“I thought our defence was great today. Scotland only scored one try and that was from an intercept and although. We lost some momentum at that point and we were under pressure, but Handré slotted that drop goal which took us back to a 10-point gap just to give us a bit of breathing space.”

Meyer concurred and praised the role Du Preez played at St James’ Park: “I think we’ve still got a lot to work on but I have to give Fourie (du Preez) a lot of credit; he was brilliant today and along with Schalk (Burger) and Duane (Vermeulen) they made a massive step up after we lost two captains last Saturday.”-www.sarugby.co.za

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