Coach Jacques Nienaber has admitted the Springboks produced their worst performance in years after being comprehensively outplayed by the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Wallabies scored two tries in each half to punish another error-filled performance from the Springboks and claim a bonus-point victory at the Suncorp Stadium.
The result continued the Springboks’ turgid record against the Wallabies in Australia, where they have not won since 2013, and left their Rugby Championship title defence hanging by a thread.
However, it is the nature of the defeat that would have left the Springbok coaches scratching their heads. For the second weekend in a row, the Springboks were on the wrong end of the referee’s whistle, once again losing two players – Faf de Klerk and Jasper Wiese – to yellow cards.
The defensive errors that plagued them in Gold Coast once again resurfaced as the Springboks missed a total of 19 tackles, bringing the overall total over the two weekends to 30 missed tackles in two games against the Wallabies.
Speaking post-match, head coach Nienaber did not deflect criticism. Both he and captain Siya Kolisi were in a sombre mood and took turns of placing the majority of the blame on themselves. It was clear that this defeat, more than any other so far, had stung.
“It’s definitely not only the worst performance of the year, I think it’s the worst performance since 2018 – when we lost [32-12] to Argentina in Mendoza,” Nienaber said. “That’s how poor this performacne was. By far, it was not a great performance in every area.
“Our defence, the last time we conceded four tries in a game was against New Zealand in 2018, three years ago. It defenitely was not up to standard.
“Even our exit game was not up to standard. It was inconsistent. Sometimes we had a good outcomes and we had poor outcomes, which actually led to points for them. It wasn’t a great performance.”
The next couple of weeks won’t get any easier for the Springboks as they now face the daunting task of attempting to bounce back against an in-form New Zealand. This includes the 100th Test between the two countries in Townsville next Saturday.
Nienaber 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. 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 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.
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