Heyneke Meyer says the Springboks' plan on how to use their substitutes in Perth was disrupted by Bryan Habana's 66th-minute yellow card.
Referee George Clancy sent Habana to the sin bin for a high tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper, even after watching replays on the big screen that showed the winger making contact around the chest/shoulder area of his opponent and then slipping up. It was a match-defining mistake as the Wallabies scored 10 points while he was off to win 24-23.
Meyer and Bok captain Jean de Villiers refused to be drawn on the issue of Habana’s yellow card, as well as a first-half penalty for a high tackle by Duane Vermeulen that cost the Boks three points. Replays showed the tackle to be perfectly legal.
'What happened is done and it can’t be changed,' said Meyer. 'We’re very disappointed with the defeat because we played very well. I thought we controlled the second half very well, playing against the wind, and the yellow card disrupted our plans on how we wanted to use the bench.
'No excuses, though, it’s a defeat and it really hurts. We now need to set our sights on our next match, which is our third away from home on the trot, and rectify matters against New Zealand in Wellington. It will take a monumental effort and we’ve got a lot of respect for New Zealand, but I believe we can beat them there.'
De Villiers, who played in his 99th Test, said: 'We played great rugby at stages, but they stuck to their guns until the end and scored the try that mattered.
'We probably made a few mistakes, which cost us, and defending with 14 men at the end was tough, but credit to the Wallabies for coming back. We lost this one and we’ve got to bounce back next week in Wellington.'
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