Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says he did not panic when his troops trailed Ireland 19-3 at half-time in Johannesburg on Saturday in the second Test. South Africa pulled off a sensational fight back to win 32-26 and draw level in the three-match Test series. The Bok boss says: ‘We’re open and frank and honest with each other in the change room. When I spoke about work ethic I mentioned the players; mentioned their names and the players responded to that. That’s all I’m looking for. It’s not what I say, it’s (a case of) are they responding to the messages and obviously from Adriaan’s (Strauss) side it was clear and concise. That is why I’m happy with the Springbok players. They’re coachable players and they respond when there’s adversity.’
Despite his words at the break, the South Africans were still 26-10 down going into the final quarter but the 55-year-old did not panic. Instead he was thrilled they could complete the comeback, especially after the disaster of losing the first Test at Newlands the week before. He says: ‘We’ve been in a dark spot. We’ve been in a hole and not many teams can work themselves out of that hole if there’s not something special in the team. I’ve seen a lot of teams, brilliant teams, that couldn’t make a comeback but this team that we have showed the whole of South Africa that backs to the wall, they can fight.’
The Springboks will meet Ireland for the third time to decide the series winner in Port Elizabeth this coming Saturday.
Photo credit: WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SASPA