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Japan loss still haunts Heyneke Meyer: ‘I experienced the most intense feeling of loneliness’

Former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says South Africa’s shock loss to Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup will haunt him forever.

Japan, ranked 13th at the time and coach by Eddie Jones, caused one of the greatest upsets in the history of rugby union when they stunned the Boks 34-32 in Brighton.

The Boks recovered and still managed a third place finish at the tournament, but Meyer is still struggling to come to terms with the Japan loss.

“I will never be able to process the disappointment of that defeat,” Meyer wrote in his new book, 7: My Notes on Leadership and Life, which goes on sale this week.

“Just when I think I have recovered to a certain extent, someone will ask me if it still hurts.”

In the book, Meyer reveals that the team was not fit enough prior to the World Cup.

“My biggest mistake as a Springbok coach was not asking for more time to prepare the team for the World Cup,” he wrote.

“When they beat us, hard work beat talent because talent did not work hard enough,’ said Meyer. ‘For that, I take full responsibility.

“As a Springbok coach, I had to insist on more time to prepare the team for the World Cup, but I did not fight hard enough.”

Meyer added had never felt lonelier when he returned to his hotel room.

“When I finally went to my hotel room and slammed the heavy hotel door behind me, I experienced the most intense feeling of loneliness I have ever felt.

“What I saw in the mirror was a man who hates the world and has only himself to count on.”

– Compiled by Sport24 staff

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