Players embarrassed by defeat

Victor Matfield says the humiliating loss to Japan has increased the pressure on the Boks to win the World Cup, reports JON CARDINELLI in Brighton.

The Boks lost 34-32 to Japan on Saturday. Apart from the result, it was a dire performance. The Boks were outplayed physically and mentally.

Bok vice-captain Victor Matfield battled for words in the aftermath. His voice barely rose to a whisper when he commented on the Boks’ standing at this World Cup.

‘We’ve just lost to Japan. We lost to Argentina last month. Those are two bad losses for South Africa. The only way we are going to fix things is by winning the World Cup. We have to deliver a big response against Samoa next Saturday,’ Matfield said.

Matfield’s second-row partner Lood de Jager was one of the few Boks who produced a good performance at the Brighton Community Stadium on Saturday. However, De Jager wasn’t in any mood to accept congratulations for a showing that included a brilliant individual try.

‘This is a low point in my career,’ the big lock said. ‘No, it doesn’t matter if I scored a try. All that matters is the team. I’m not happy.

‘Japan deserved the victory,’ De Jager added. ‘That said, while they were good, we were bad.’

Flyhalf Pat Lambie reiterated Matfield’s point about hitting back against Samoa. The Boks may have to win their remaining pool clashes just to qualify for the play-offs.

‘We know we let everybody in South Africa down tonight,’ Lambie said. ‘We have to make it right next week.’

Flanker Francois Louw said that people shouldn’t write the Boks off just yet.

‘Emotions are running high at the moment. My feeling was that we controlled the game at times, and were guilty of errors at crucial moments. We were too inconsistent,’ said Louw.

‘We’ve been through some bad times over the past few months [with the losses to Argentina and Japan]. But this team has also enjoyed some good times. We’ve beaten the top teams in the world before.’

Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli