JOHANNESBURG — England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster was encouraged about the improvements that his team could make, but the reality is that it is more likely it will be the Springboks who will lift a gear in the second Test at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.
Heyneke Meyer spoke after the 22-17 win like a coach who, although relieved, was less than satisfied with his team’s overall performance, and he confirmed that he did throw a bit of a tizzy fit at the players in the change-room at halftime. It was probably what inspired a much more energetic, aggressive and more direct performance in the second half, with a powerful third quarter effectively deciding the match.
In that period of dominance the Boks exposed some severe chinks in the England armoury, and while the visitors did strike back to score a try from the final move of the game, which was much to the chagrin of the perfectionist in Meyer, the game was effectively done and dusted long before then.
“I was disappointed in that last try because the mistakes in our defence were unacceptable, but we haven’t worked together as a defensive system before and you can coach defence. What you can’t coach is commitment, and there was plenty of that,” said Meyer.
If England want to turn around the result of the first Test they are going to have to sort out their scrumming, which became progressively worse the longer the game lasted, and kudos to Meyer for the way his substitutions played a big part in the strangulation process that shut England out of the game.