The Springboks were their own worst enemy as they suffered a 23-18 defeat in an error-riddled outing against the Wallabies on Saturday, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
How quickly things can change.
It wasn’t all that long ago that there was plenty of optimism over the progress the Springboks appeared to be making under coach Rassie Erasmus, but they have taken a couple of significant strides backwards in their last two outings.
A surprise loss to Argentina in Mendoza a couple of weeks ago exposed some serious vulnerabilities, with Erasmus suggesting after that defeat that it had been a performance of ‘club rugby’ standard.
On Saturday, it was schoolboy errors that cost the Boks dearly, with lost lineouts, shocking handling and an array of other basic errors contributing to a woeful defeat against an uninspiring Wallabies side.
The Springboks started encouragingly enough and led 15-7 after half an hour of play, but they never got their game going after that.
An overthrown lineout from Bongi Mbonambi that led to a soft try for the Wallabies was the start of the rot, but to touch on that subject, it was an especially harsh call to replace the hooker five minutes before half-time.
The call for a backball lineout throw deep in the Boks’ 22 was a poor decision, with Mbonambi’s overthrow just compounding the issue. To make him the scapegoat was certainly unfair.
A soft penalty conceded just before half-time saw the Springboks’ lead cut to just a solitary point despite the fact that they had enjoyed the better of most exchanges in that opening stanza.
Yet it speaks volumes that the Boks would end the match having conceded 18 turnovers, while their execution on attack was virtually non-existent.
It’s a result that will especially hurt considering that the Springboks again had more than ample opportunity to put themselves in a winning position, and yet they were ultimately the architects of their own demise.
A repeat performance of this nature would undoubtedly lead to another humiliation at the hands of the All Blacks next weekend.
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