Meyer: We don't over-rely on kicking
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer bristles at the suggestion he is developing a conservative team which is over-reliant on kicking.
The Springboks, ranked third in the world, launch their three-Test tour of Europe against Ireland at Aviva Stadium tomorrow.
An uncompromising pack, confrontational approach and well drilled kick-chase game are viewed as the hallmarks of South Africa rugby.
Meyer, however, insists the perception that his team lack ambition is wrong.
“The one criticism I sometimes feel is unjust is that we kick too much,” he said.
“In the six Tests we played in the recent Rugby Championship, we kicked less than the opposition and the All Blacks kicked 13 more times than us.
“Against Australia in Pretoria we scored five reasonably good tries and we missed three chances. Everybody said that was a bad Australian side.
“Then Australia draw with New Zealand and the All Blacks don’t score a try.
“Yet I don’t hear people saying New Zealand are conservative and they don’t play great rugby.
“Look at last year’s World Cup final – New Zealand scored one try through a line-out and won 8-7, but it’s said to be one of the best games in the history of the tournament.
“Test rugby is all about winning. You can play any-which-way, you simply have to win and that is what we are aiming for. But we do want to play better rugby.
“We’ve been in a position to win every single game, but the one thing that let us down in 90 per cent of the games was our goal-kicking – that should have been better.
“It is not conservative or expansive rugby, you have to kick your goals and that is one thing you need to rectify.”
Meyer has hardly enjoyed the best start to his Springbok reign since replacing Peter de Villiers in January.
South Africa finished third in the Rugby Championship and his record in nine Tests is won four, lost three and drawn two – results that have earned him criticism.
“I am not a guy who thinks he knows everything. I have made a lot of mistakes and I will take that on the chin,” Meyer said.
“I have spoken to a lot of coaches and players out there.
“Obviously you want to improve, but first you have to put the basics in place.”