Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss admits that the quality of the decision-making and execution was unacceptably poor in their loss to Ireland. JON CARDINELLI reports.
Ireland have every right to feel elated. On Saturday, Joe Schmidt’s team beat the Boks 26-20 at Newlands. The result marked Ireland’s first-ever win against the Boks in South Africa. It allowed the tourists to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.
What’s more, Ireland secured that victory despite playing most of the contest with 14 men. At one stage, they were further reduced to 13, but still managed to maintain their composure.
After the game, Ireland captain Rory Best admitted that the result as well as the performance would be remembered as ‘special’.
‘It’s never been done before [an Ireland team beating the Boks in South Africa]. And then to go and do it with 14 men, well, that makes it extra special,’ Best said.
Best’s opposite number, Adriaan Strauss, said the hosts had plenty to rectify ahead of the second Test in Johannesburg. Strauss was not happy when he addressed the media after the loss at Newlands. The result saw Strauss beginning his reign as Bok captain on a low note.
‘The decision-making could have been better. The execution wasn’t good enough. Because of that, we struggled to build any momentum,’ said Strauss.
‘The players are hurting after a performance like that. We chatted about it afterwards in the changeroom. We will give it some time to hurt.
‘But we can’t focus on that result for too long. We have to pick ourselves up. We have to take the decision to fight back and set things right next week.’
Faf de Klerk had a Test debut to forget at Newlands. The Bok forwards spent much of the game on the back foot, and the pressure was also felt by the halfbacks.
‘Maybe we needed to clear better around the ruck, and maybe the referee [Mathieu Raynal from France] needed to pay more attention [to what the Irish players were doing at the breakdown],’ De Klerk said.
‘Maybe we also could have adapted better to how the northern hemisphere referee managed the breakdown. We just couldn’t build any phases. It is something we hope to get right next week. We learned a lot from this experience.’
Lwazi Mvovo scored a good try for the hosts, but believes that the team as a whole could have done more on attack.
‘You have to take your chances at this this level,’ said the Bok winger. ‘We did create opportunities, but let ourselves down with poor execution.
‘We’re not happy with the performance. That said, we will have to move on and look forward to putting things right next week.’
Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images