Rugby World Cup
Heyneke Meyer apologises for Springboks' performance against Japan
Robert Bartlett
September 20, 2015
Japan stun South Africa while France too strong for Italy (Australia only)

Heyneke Meyer apologised to the whole of South Africa following his side's shock World Cup defeat to Japan on Saturday.

The Brave Blossoms produced one of the greatest moments in both rugby and sporting history when Karne Hesketh's 83rd-minute try earned them a 34-32 victory over the Springboks in Brighton.

"It was disappointing and unacceptable," Meyer said in his post-match press conference at the AMEX stadium. "I will have to fix it. We will have to take it on the chin. We scored four tries but gave away soft penalties. I have to apologise to the nation."

A day for minnows

Meyer fielded the most experienced Test side in South Africa's history for the Pool B opener, but his players simply failed to cope with Japan's power.

Captain Jean de Villiers added: "It was a massive victory for Japan and I am embarrassed. All credit to Japan and the way they executed their win. We could never get comfortable. They always hung on. It feels like a massive shock to us, It's difficult to take it all in."

The consensus among the South Africans is things will need to be put right before they play Samoa in Birmingham. However, there is still a belief this squad can go on to achieve the nation's third World Cup success.

"In 2011 France lost pool games and they still went through to the final, and so we take some hope from that. We are really disappointed," try scorer Bismarck du Plessis said.

Fly-half Patrick Lambie added: "We really all want to make things right. We will be prepared for Samoa. We have to be, we have no choice; it will be the biggest game of the tournament."

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