LONDON (Reuters) - Out of the running to win the Rugby World Cup, South Africa are left with the prospect of having to play the one match every team hates to be involved in.
After losing 20-18 to New Zealand in the semi-finals on Saturday, the Springboks have to playoff against either Argentina or Australia for third place.
Coach Heyneke Meyer left no-one with any doubts about his feelings on the fixture at London’s Olympic stadium on Friday.
“It’s mentally very, very tough because it doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s like kissing your sister,” he said.
“The only thing that counts is being world champs, everything else is loser talk.”
While he may not be overly enthusiastic about the playoff match, Meyer was upbeat about the future of the Springboks, saying he was hugely impressed by the way some of his younger players have performed during the tournament.
“If you look at the guys in this team, 80 or 90 percent of them can make the next World Cup,” he said.
“I really believe this team can go places. This will be one of the best teams heading forward.
“A lot of these guys will be the (Dan) Carters of tomorrow and world beaters. That makes me really excited for the future of rugby in South Africa.”
Meyer was less forthcoming about his own long term future. The 48-year-old took over as Springboks coach in 2012 with the job of taking them through to the World Cup but has not said whether he will remain in charge.
“You must ask SA Rugby,” he told reporters.
“You can see how grey I am but I have always said I am here to serve. I’m just thinking about today. I only wanted to make the country proud — not of me but the team.
“I take it personally and there are one or two calls I will reflect on but it’s been a huge honour to serve my country.
“If you lose I don’t care if it’s by one point or by 50 points. It’s painful if it’s one point or 100 points. All credit to the All Blacks.”
editing by Justin Palmer