Saturday 18 November 2017

Meyer's humility in face of adversity a welcome change of boks' tune

Tony Ward

Tony Ward

When Peter de Villiers was coach of South Africa, media messages from the Springbok camp were mixed and at best misunderstood.

In general his relationship with the media and the rugby public was strained.

By contrast, what we are witnessing now under Heyneke Meyer (right) is a coach who, in tandem with his on-field leader (former Munster centre Jean de Villiers), understands the nuances of positive public perception.

More to the point, he seldom loses the plot in adversity.

The dignified manner in which Meyer and De Villiers handled the disappointment of defeat to the All Blacks – particularly everything surrounding the double yellow card and wrongful sending off of Bismarck du Plessis by Romain Poite (right) in Auckland – smacked of humility.

How many others would have acted the same way in the face of Poite's crazy decision, which changed the mid-match momentum and ultimately determined the outcome of the game?

Here we have the international team most people love to hate but one with a sea change in perception well under way.

Revenge will be best served cold if they manage to do the business when they entertain Steve Hansen's New Zealand in Johannesburg on Saturday week (October 5). One suspects little motivation will be necessary.

Irish Independent

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