South African three try hero JP Pietersen said the Springboks fought back from their humiliating defeat against Japan by admitting their faults before taking on Samoa.

One week after the 34-32 defeat — the biggest shock in World Cup history — the South Africans rebounded with a vengeance beating the Pacific islanders 46-6 on Saturday.

The two-time world champions spent the week apologising to the nation. But Pietersen — one of seven in the starting line-up who were in the 2007 World Cup winning side — said they also admitted their guilt to each other to make themselves stronger. 

“We had to win, if we didn’t win today we would have been in a very difficult situation,” he said after the emphatic win.

“We were open about it all week, on the situation that we were in. And the only way to get out of the situation was (up to) ourselves.

“We told ourselves that if we win our remaining three games then we will definitely qualify.”

Top of Pool B with seven points, the South Africans are maintaining hopes that they can become the first country to lose their first match at the World Cup and go on to win the trophy.

“What really let us down last week was our discipline. It was a great result today and you can see that our discipline was very good,” said the Natal Sharks and Springbok wing.

– New injury worries –

“It is always special scoring a try for your country, but a hat-trick is very special and I’ll remember it forever.”

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer, who was under pressure to quit after the Japan defeat, also said the Samoa win would give new hope to the World Cup campaign.

“We’re a country that needs hope and forgiveness working for each other,” said Meyer.

“We really want to make the country proud. Our country needs a lot of hope and the Springboks are the hope of the country.”

But the Springboks have new injury worries to deal with before their next game against Scotland in Newcastle on October 3.

Injury prone captain Jean de Villiers went to hospital amid fears he had broken his jaw for the second time in two months.

The 34-year-old centre — who missed the 2003 World Cup because of a serious knee injury and the 2007 final triumph when he was injured in the opening pool game — came off during the second-half in Birmingham but had to rejoin the fray for the final few minutes.

“Jean is going for X-rays,” said Meyer. “It is the other side of his jaw that is hurt. We will have to wait and see. I just hope and pray that he is right.”

De Villiers barely made the World Cup after returning from a long lay-off from a serious knee injury suffered against Wales in November.

On his return he broke his jaw playing in South Africa’s first defeat by Argentina in August in Durban.

His performances have been criticised but Meyer stuck with de Villiers as World Cup skipper.

Lock Eben Etzebeth also went to hospital for x-rays. Centres Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel also went off — de Villiers having to replace the bruised Kriel.

“There is a long list of injuries and we will release it as soon as the doc has had a look at it,” said Meyer. – Agence France-Presse

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