Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber pulled no punches and offered no excuses after South Africa went down by 30-17 to the Wallabies in their Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test match in Brisbane on Saturday, admitting that they were outplayed in all areas.
Nienaber described the performance as the Boks’ worst since 2018, and said they will need a massive improvement if they want to be competitive against New Zealand next weekend.
“We were truly beaten in each department, and beaten hands down,” said a disappointed Nienaber after the Test.
“We just made too many errors in every aspect of our game and we need to figure out quickly what went wrong, as things don’t get any easier in the next two weeks.
“In the Rugby Championship, you get tested differently by each opponent and we came up short against Australia. Next week will be another massive, but different challenge and we will have to try and turn things around. Win or lose, we have a review process anyway, and that will be done again.”
Nienaber apologised to Springbok supporters for the performance, which he described as the worst since the defeat against Argentina in Mendoza in 2018 and not worthy of the green and gold jersey.
“We were overpowered. We have not conceded four tries in a match since 2018 and today we could not respond to the challenges put up by Australia,” the Bok coach said.
As the Boks’ defence coach, Nienaber said one of the four tries scored by Australia was a system error, but the rest were down to poor defensive execution. To add to their woes, the Boks also delivered an inconsistent kicking game, their coach said.
“Guys missed tackles today that they normally make,” said Nienaber.
“If every player in the team misses just one tackle, you will have 23 missed tackles and at times it felt like that was happening.
“We executed poorly and that led to points against us as well. We did create some opportunities, but the error rate just nullified that. This was an unheard-of performance today, to be honest.”
Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi, lamented their lack of application: “I would not say our plan is not working, it is just the execution of such that was very poor and should be implemented better.
“Training went very well this week, but today our error rate was just too high. Too many players were making mistakes. We normally are so good at defence, but today, we did not do well; we have to be better and pull tighter.”
Kolisi said they spoke about the Australian focus on attacking the breakdown at halftime, but still could not counter that.
“We knew it was coming and prepared for it,” said Kolisi.
“They just overpowered us today. We did not enforce as we planned, and we did not react to that. We need to take responsibility for this performance. It was just not good enough.”
Issued by SA Rugby Communications