Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, on Saturday hailed the resilience of his team and lauded the impact of senior players after South Africa clinched the series against Ireland with a 19-13 win at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. The win secured a 2-1 victory in the series, after Ireland won the opening test in Cape Town and the Springboks edged them in Johannesburg. Coetzee says: ‘We started the series with a loss and we were 19-3 down in Johannesburg. And here today we were really put to the test, so I am very pleased in the result and series win. The resilience and character of the team really came through. We fought in the trenches and played test rugby out there today. It was not attractive, but we needed to win.’
The coach hailed the attitude of the team: ‘The attitude cannot be faulted. The performance of senior players was great. What was also pleasing was the way the new players adapted to test match rugby. There are many instinctive players in the team, but they learned valuable lessons from the step-up to test rugby. This is all part of the building process for this team and the foundation looks solid. We are busy creating a new culture that must develop and bear fruit over four years. It was rewarding and pleasing that new guys got the opportunity and each and every player took ownership of his position and delivered. The guys need to continue playing well for the remainder of the Vodacom Super Rugby. I will keep on rewarding form.’
Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss was also a pleased man, saying: ‘The last couple of minutes we showed a lot of character. They were still in the game at that time and we defended for our lives, so the effort was brilliant. I think we progressed technically and tactically over the three weeks. We had to, we played against a very good team.’
Strauss gave credit to Ireland for their effort: ‘They were very tough opponents and really tested us. They forced us to improve from where we started and I am happy that we could respond accordingly.’ The Springboks’ next test is against Argentina in Nelspruit on 20 August.
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