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Meyer: England will learn from loss

South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer offered England consolation for inflicting a fifth straight loss by insisting the 2015 World Cup hosts will learn from the winless sequence.

The Springboks are unbeaten in 12 matches with England after Saturday's 31-28 victory at Twickenham, while Stuart Lancaster's men are in the midst of their worst run since 2006, when they suffered seven successive losses.

England played South Africa four times in 2012, claiming one draw, before this weekend's loss and the next time the sides clash could be in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

"They're a quality side and they will be better for this," Meyer said.

"The last three games we've played them, one was a draw, one was a win by one point and this (win) by three points.

"It's just a matter of time. They need some luck and when the luck comes you get confidence. You need luck, sometimes you make your own luck and then you get momentum."

The Springboks beat world champions New Zealand in October and bounced back from the loss to Ireland in Dublin with the defeat of England.

It was not the most attractive contest, but Meyer took the positives from winning ugly.

"Sometimes you have to have a game like this where you do the basics right, grind out a win," he added.

"That's Test match rugby and, for me, that's World Cup-winning rugby.

"There's going to be three knockout games and sometimes you have to play like this.

"I'm really happy that we almost took a step back but in a sense three steps forward because we adapted to the conditions and to our game plan."

Key to the victory was fly-half Pat Lambie, whose nerveless late drop-goal meant England needed more than a converted try to prevail.

Lambie has now led the Springboks to a win at Twickenham three times, while in 12 November Tests in the northern hemisphere he has won 10 and lost two - to Scotland in 2010 and Ireland earlier this month.

"Pat's always played well for us end of year, specifically in this weather," Meyer said.

"I think we've won every single game he's played here. He's a very level-headed guy and took the right options, especially the drop-goal.

"He's got a calm influence on the team, although he's only 24.

"It was the right type of game for him - wet, difficult conditions, under pressure and he showed he's a match-winner."

Tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis is likely to miss next week's Test with Italy due to hamstring and knee problems and could also miss the Wales Test.

But the Springboks head to Padova in buoyant mood after responding from the Dublin defeat.

The quality of South Africa's defensive display delighted captain Jean de Villiers, who was also pleased with the use of limited ball.

"It was a very good defensive effort," the centre said.

"Defence is also about understanding attack. If you understand attack you're able to defend well. The decision-making on defence was really good from one to 15.

"Mentally we showed up this week and that's what was lacking last week (against Ireland).

"It did come down to what we did with the ball when we had it.

"It's quality possession, rather than percentage of possession that counts.

"It was a pretty basic game in the fact that, yes, there were a lot of tries scored, but the ball didn't go much further than the 10-12 channel.

"Credit must go to our forwards in the work they put in and being clinical in that department.

"Sometimes you have to fight it out in difficult, wet conditions. Our execution was certainly much, much better."


From Belfast Telegraph