Rugby - South Africa successfully introduce three new players

South Africa, winners of the four nations tournament with Italy, Scotland and Samoa, introduced the exciting JJ Englebrecht at centre, found a new fullback in Willie le Roux and gave a test debut to loose forward Siya Kolisil.

Reuters
Rugby - Meticulous planner Meyer prepared for Paris
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Heyneke Meyer

For a team often criticised for concentrating on physical, forward-based rugby, their 16 tries in three matches also pointed to a more expansive game plan.

"We wanted to use these three matches to give some guys test experience and we believe we are building towards something special," coach Heyneke Meyer told reporters.

"We over-trained in the first two weeks and that affected our play, but we cut back in the final week and the performance against Samoa was a brilliant team effort.

"It is important for us that we have a balanced side, and I think we have that now. We wanted to get quicker ball from the breakdown and we did that. We scored some awesome tries."

Wins over Italy and Scotland made the tournament a success for Samoa, even if they conceded eight tries in their final match against South Africa.

There was much to admire in their opening victories and their physicality and attacking style that sometimes borders on the unstructured but can be highly effective.

But when faced with better opposition in the form of the Springboks, the old discipline problems resurfaced. They received red and yellow cards in the match and could have had at least two more players permanently sent off during a petulant display.

"We were frustrated, we didn't stick to our plans or our patterns. It's a learning curve for some of these boys but we have to work on it," said coach Stephen Betham.

"It's been a very important four weeks. It's something I should commend and thank the South African Rugby Union for giving us this chance."

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