South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer does not care which side the Springboks play in the World Cup quarterfinals, as long as it is not Japan.
Bryan Habana’s hat-trick of tries helped his side to a 64-0 rout of the United States on Wednesday so that the 1995 and 2007 world champions can more confidently look forward to the last eight.
But their minds keep going back to their nightmare opening Pool B match when battling Japan delivered a last minute sucker punch to secure a stunning 34-32 win.
Wins since over Samoa, Scotland and now the United States – in the most lopsided scoreline of this World Cup so far – ensured South Africa topped their group. They will now face the losers of Saturday’s Pool A clash between Australia and Wales in their October 17 quarterfinal at Twickenham.
“It’s going to be cracker of a game but it depends what happens on the day,” said Meyer.
Asked which out of Australia and Wales he would rather avoid, Meyer – in a rare show of humour – told reporters: “The only team I would not want to face is Japan because it almost cost me my … I won’t go into that now.”
The Springboks were only 14-0 up at halftime against the United States, courtesy of two converted tries, including centre Damian de Allende’s first at test level.
But at the other end of the scale, Habana’s quickfire treble – in a second half where the Springboks scored eight tries – saw the 32-year-old wing equal Jonah Lomu’s record 15 World Cup tries. He is also level with Australia great David Campese’s 64 in tests and fast catching the overall record of 69 held by Japan’s Daisuke Ohata.