28 Aug 2012

Meyer says he won't make wholesale changes

6:35 am on 28 August 2012

The Springbok rugby coach Heyneke Meyer says he'll retain most of the team that flopped in Argentina for Rugby Championship Tests in Australia and New Zealand next month.

A late chargedown try enabled the Springboks to snatch an undeserved 16-16 draw in Mendoza at the weekend against the southern hemisphere championship newcomers.

Rattled for most of the match by more committed opponents, South Africa were outplayed in the loose, lost the lineout battle, and a possession-starved backline rarely threatened when it did have the ball.

But Meyer has ruled out major changes when he announces his squad this week for Australasia.

He says he's been in this position a few times during his career as a coach and the easiest thing to do is just drop players - but that will not move the Springboks forward.

Retirements, injuries, moves abroad and selection changes meant South Africa faced Los Pumas with only four of the team beaten 11-9 by Australia in the World Cup - Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers, Morne Steyn and Jannie du Plessis.

John Smit and Victor Matfield have retired, JP Pietersen, Pierre Spies and Schalk Burger are injured, Jaque Fourie, Fourie du Preez and Danie Rossouw play in Japan and Gurthro Steenkamp in France.

Meyer dropped the other two starters against the Wallabies with Zane Kirchner replacing Patrick Lambie at fullback and flank Heinrich Brussow discarded because the coach prefers big ball carriers to "scavengers".

The Mendoza draw marked the end of the honeymoon period for Meyer after a 2-0 mid-year series win over England and a 27-6 home victory over Argentina in the opening round of the Rugby Championship.