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South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer 'so proud' of record-matching Bryan Habana

Published 07/10/2015

Heyneke Meyer enjoyed Bryan Habana's three-try show
Heyneke Meyer enjoyed Bryan Habana's three-try show

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer hopes Bryan Habana is hitting form at the right time after the winger's record-equalling feat against the United States.

The 32-year-old scored a 19-minute hat-trick as the Springboks crushed an inexperienced USA side to run out 64-0 victors at the Olympic Stadium - a result that means they will top Pool B and face a quarter-final against Australia or Wales.

The individual feat saw Habana draw level with former All Black Jonah Lomu's record of 15 World Cup tries - with Damian de Allende, Bismarck Du Plessis, Jesse Kriel, Lwazi Mvovo and two from Francois Louw completing the rout.

When asked about Habana's achievement, Meyer said: "First and foremost it sounds corny but the one thing we are getting right now is that it is better for the team than the individual.

"He is always the guy who comes through in big games, he didn't have a good off-season and couldn't get going. Now he is getting momentum as I didn't think in the last three or four weeks he has been at his best.

"I didn't even know he had got the record, I was more focused on the game. But I'm so proud of him and it is great, he is a great ambassador for South Africa and I hope he has peaked at the right time. He will need to score more tries as well but I'm pleased for him.

"He is looking forward and getting the ball in his hand - he has more experience and has been great for the past two games."

With a mouthwatering clash against Australia or Wales to come at Twickenham, Meyer insists South Africa are ready, and their opening defeat to Japan - one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history - is now consigned to the past.

"I think as a coach you think you are ready," Meyer added.

"I know we are better prepared and we will face one of the best two in the world. We have to be more clinical and use every opportunity, on their day any team can beat any team. I believe we have been under so much pressure but luckily we have a little break.

Bryan Habana of South Africa goes over to score his second try and South Africa's sixth during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Bryan Habana of South Africa goes over to score his second try and South Africa's sixth during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
South Africa's wing Bryan Habana celebrates after scoring a try during a Pool B match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium, east London, on October 7, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
South Africa's wing Lwazi Mvovo (C) celebrates with South Africa's wing Bryan Habana (L) and South Africa's scrum half Rudy Paige (R) after scoring his team's tenth try despite during a Pool B match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium, east London, on October 7, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
USA's Andrew Suniula (centre left) is halted by South Africa's Handre Pollard (centre) during the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PA
South Africa's Bryan Habana and USA's Blaine Scully (above) collide as they go for a high ball during the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
South Africa's Bryan Habana and USA's Blaine Scully (above) collide as they go for a high ball during the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
South Africa's Schalk Burger (right) looks to guide the scrum during the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
South Africa's Damian De Allende scores their first try of the game during the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
South Africa's Damian De Allende (no 12) celebrates scoring their first try of the game with team-mates during the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
South Africa supporters cheer prior to a Pool B match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium, east London, on October 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, NO USE IN LIVE MATCH TRACKING SERVICES, TO BE USED AS NON-SEQUENTIAL STILLSLIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Jesse Kriel of South Africa held up short of the try line during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Jesse Krie of South Africa held up of the try line during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Blaine Scully of the United States and Bryan Habana of South Africa come together when they go for a high ball during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Tendai Mtawarira of South Africa tackled by Andrew Suniula of the United States during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Lwazi Mvovo of South Africa tackled by Folau Niua and Shalom Suniula of the United States during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Damian De Allende of South Africa is congratulated on scoring their first try with Lwazi Mvovo of South Africa during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
USA and South Africa fans show their support in the stands before the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015.
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: A South African fan enjoys a drink during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
USA fans show their support in the stands before the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
USA fans show their support in the stands before the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: USA fans soak up the atmosphere during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Louis Stanfill of the United States (C) shows his emotions during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
A South Africa fan shows her support in the stands before the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer before the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
South Africa players hurdle together in the warm-up before the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
A South Africa fan shows his support in the stands before the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: The South Africa team line up for the national anthem during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium on October 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
A South Africa fan shows her support in the stands before the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
A South Africa fan with a painted face poses outside the stadium ahead of the Pool B match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium, east London, on October 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, NO USE IN LIVE MATCH TRACKING SERVICES, TO BE USED AS NON-SEQUENTIAL STILLSADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
A South Africa fan shows her support in the stands before the World Cup match at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 7, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU South Africa. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.
A lone South Africa fan walks outside the stadium ahead of the Pool B match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between South Africa and USA at the Olympic Stadium, east London, on October 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, NO USE IN LIVE MATCH TRACKING SERVICES, TO BE USED AS NON-SEQUENTIAL STILLSADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
A general view of the stadium before the Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool B match between South Africa and United States of America at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium on October 07, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
A general view of the stadium before the Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool B match between South Africa and United States of America at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium on October 07, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
South Africa's scrum half and captain Fourie du Preez takes part in a press conference on October 6, 2015 at the Olympic stadium in London. South Africa will face USA at London's Olympic stadium. AFP/Getty Images
South Africa's assistant coach Johann Van Graan (L) and scrum half and captain Fourie du Preez take part in a press conference on October 6, 2015 at the Olympic stadium in London. South Africa will face USA at London's Olympic stadium. AFP/Getty Images
South Africa's wing Bryan Habana attends a press conference on October 5, 2015 at the Lensbury Hotel in Teddington, west of London, to announce the team that will face USA at London's Olympic stadium on October 7, 2015.
South Africa's scrum half and captain Fourie du Preez (C) passes the ball during a training session at the Lensbury Hotel in Teddington, west of London, on October 5, 2015. South Africa will face USA at London's Olympic stadium on October 7, 2015. AFP/Getty Images

"The great thing after we played Japan was that we changed the game-plan. It will be a cracker of a game and it doesn't matter what happened before. We are looking forward to it, the confidence is there but we have to stay humble as we haven't achieved it yet.

"It is great that people are writing us off but I know what this team can do, slowly but surely we have been improving."

USA coach Mike Tolkin was proud of his much-changed side for challenging the two-time world champions for much of the first half - even if they dropped off the pace after the break.

"First half, I was so pleased with the way our guys played," he said.

"There were a lot of guys in there who hadn't had a lot of game time and they poured their hearts out. They put a load of pressure onto South Africa. I'm really proud of the effort.

"Second half, we got ourselves under some immediate pressure and once they got going they wore our guys down quickly and scored at will.

"Whether they (the opponents) are tier one or tier two, you have to be competitive. We couldn't do that in the second half so it fell apart.

"At this World Cup you don't see any 80 or 90 scores, we had a side out that doesn't have much World Cup experience yet. In four years' time it will be really interesting to see what happens."

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