South African coaches say the job is only half done in the Rugby Championship.
Coach Heyneke Meyer has urged his unbeaten Springboks to stay “humble” as they take on New Zealand in a potential Rugby Championship decider in Auckland next weekend.
South Africa, showing superior mental strength and intimidating defence, dismantled the Wallabies in a record 38-12 victory in Brisbane on Saturday to keep their unbeaten record along with the All Blacks in the southern hemisphere tournament.
The Springboks edge the All Blacks by one competition point on the back of their bonus-winning four-try mauling of the Wallabies and are now undefeated in their last nine Tests while the Kiwis boast six consecutive victories.
The All Blacks have not lost to the Springboks at Auckland’s Eden Park since 1937, although South Africa drew there 18-18 in 1994.
But Meyer senses that his team are getting stronger and will be ready for a big challenge against the reigning World Cup champions.
“Obviously you build. The guys are getting mentally stronger,” Meyer said after Saturday’s triumph.
“There’s still three tough games to come and the championship is waiting. Forget this game and start focusing on the next one.”
The Springboks won for the first time in 42 years in Brisbane, downing the Wallabies with three second-half tries in eight minutes — their first victory in Australia for four years.
“It’s been a huge, huge mental thing,” he said. “We’ll work hard for the next one, because that’s going to be a real great challenge.”
Meyer added: “We need to be humble next week and even in South Africa it’s going to be a hell of a challenge.
“People believe we can’t score tries. We scored 70 points (against Argentina) in South Africa, then we struggled away from home and got criticised and now we’ve scored four tries again.”
Meyer said a lot of people had written his team off before the Wallabies’ game and they had a point to prove to their supporters as well as themselves.
He said the team management had worked hard to instil the belief in the players that they could win away from home.
“We really believed — it is easy talking afterwards — but as a team we really believed we could win,” Meyer said.
“I am a proud South African and we wanted to show the country that if we work together nothing is impossible.
“Everyone wrote us off and told us it is impossible for a Springbok team to win at Suncorp Stadium, but the whole week we had a mindset that we can win.
“I think our defence was awesome tonight. Our loose forwards at the breakdown were really good.
“Our scrums and set-pieces were great, but I truly believe we won the game firstly in the mind, and second with the ball.”
Since taking over as coach in June last year, Meyer has won 12 of his 17 Tests in charge of the Springboks.
In contrast, Ewen McKenzie has lost his opening three as the Wallabies coach since taking over from Robbie Deans in July.
“I truly believe this Wallabies side is a good side. I know how Ewen (McKenzie) feels. You’re almost on a hiding to nothing,” Meyer said.
“It’s only your first and second game — it takes time. They’ll be back.”