Argentina 16-16 South Africa, Rugby Championship
Meyer: We let out country down
August 26, 2012
South Africa struggled to gain any momentum against the Pumas © PA Photos
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer branded his side's 16-16 draw with Argentina as "unacceptable" and said they had "let the country down".
The Springboks were lucky to escape defeat in Mendoza after a charge-down try from Frans Steyn rescued a draw for the visitors. The Pumas had dominated the match - they led 13-3 at half time - and Meyer was furious with his side's display.
"We let our country down and we let ourselves down, it is unacceptable," said Meyer. "We always knew it was going to be very difficult here, there is a lot of passion. A lot of the guys are inexperienced, but that is not an excuse."
"They know what it takes now, but this was still unacceptable. Mentally we have to be a lot tougher. The only way you get more experience and become mentally tough is by playing." The breakdown was an area of particular concern for the Springboks as they were second best in that department, especially in the first half.
"It has been a battle at the breakdown, you don't get any quick ball and we should have dealt with it better," Meyer added.
Pumas captain Juan Fernandez Lobbe was satisfied with his side's performance but was disappointed not to have grabbed their first win over the Springboks.
"It's good what we achieved but this team wants to improve," said Fernandez Lobbe. "Everyone saw our disappointed faces when the match ended. It's true we'll remember this match all our lives, but we like to win and victory slipped away by very little."
"We had promised ourselves that this would be a day to remember. In two weeks' time we have to take another step forward."
Coach Santiago Phelan added: "The result is positive beyond the fact we could have won the match. We work to improve our game and the result comes as a consequence - we try to take a step forward every time we play."
Springboks skipper Jean de Villiers admitted his side struggled to break out of Argentina's suffocating approach and that they would learn some big lessons from the match.
"It was a tough game, a frustrating game. We couldn't get momentum and we conceded too many penalties. We need to play better. We came back at least in the second half," De Villiers told Planet Rugby.
"We need to change from our mistakes. I think that is the big thing. We are a young team but we are representing our country and that's a lot of responsibility. We need to learn from these mistakes and play better next time against Australia."
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