Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Saturday said his team were outplayed in defeat by New Zealand in Durban on Saturday. Coetzee said he was embarrassed by the result as New Zealand completed the Rugby Championship with a 57-15 victory. New Zealand won all six matches in the tournament – claiming a try-scoring bonus point in every match – having wrapped up the title with two rounds remaining.
Coetzee said: ‘It was painful, we have no excuses. They are world class and we are not there yet. We gave our best effort, but sometimes your best is still not good enough. That was the case here today. The players and coaches worked hard this week, but we have to have a hard look at ourselves. We are the only ones who can turn this around.’ The coach praised New Zealand, for retaining the standards that made them World Cup winners in 2011 and 2015: ‘The All Blacks benefit from their system. There are not many players out there that can really strengthen our squad. We have to look at a number of areas, including our kicking game, our aerial skills and a number of other areas. That’s why the coaching indaba will be so important. As a country, we lack in certain skills and that is something we all need to work on.’
Coetzee lamented the fact that they gave the All Blacks easy possession and faded in the last 20 minutes, particularly following a yellow card to Lood De Jager with eight minutes to go. He said: ‘We gave them a sniff and they responded, especially when we had one player less on the field with the yellow card.’ Coetzee pointed to the November tours and the urgency to get back up, saying: ‘We are under constant pressure to win tests. We are between a rock and a hard place, we need to blood new players at the beginning of a new four-year cycle, but we cannot experiment too much. We are embarrassed, but we need to stand up and show we have fight left in us.’
Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss congratulated the All Blacks, saying: ‘We were outclassed in that last 25 minutes. We could hold them for about 50 minutes, but then they were much better than us. Congratulations to them on this win and in winning the championship.’ The veteran hooker is adamant that the team can turn their form around. He said: ‘We have the talent, I am positive about the future. Tonight we were nowhere. We need to bounce back and show some resilience and character, but the talent is there to do that.’
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