Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says hooker Bongi Mbonambi was substituted before half-time against the Wallabies because he had emptied the tank.
Mbonambi, who scored the Boks’ first try in the match, was substituted shortly after the half-hour mark and just after the Wallabies scored a try off his overthrow at a 5m lineout, with the home side going on to win the match 23-18.
However, Erasmus refused to blame Mbonambi for the try and said he was hooked because he was battling to keep up with the match.
‘Bongi has not played a lot and you could see he was struggling,’ Erasmus told reporters after the match. ‘You can ask the guys, the deal is everyone plays as long as he can and as soon as you start struggling, the sub comes on. I substituted my captain [Siya Kolisi] a few times during the June Tests.
‘We tell the guys to empty the tank, see how far you can go and then we will bring the guy on the bench on and he will try to finish the match.
‘It definitely was not for the overthrow because that was more a combination between Siya and the guys. It definitely wasn’t his fault.’
Erasmus added that his team is focused on getting better game to game and played them up as the underdogs in their next match against the All Blacks in Wellington.
‘The focus isn’t on the All Blacks, its more on ourselves. In some things we are getting better – I thought our mauling was great today – but we are getting worse with some things.
‘That is the frustrating thing which I as the coach have to take responsibility and the consequences for. We have to improve week by week in all areas. We can’t go up and down in certain areas.
‘I actually thought we played better than we did against Argentina. Australia are a tough team away from home and against Argentina we played stupid rugby.
‘New Zealand are the best in the world. Yes, it is daunting, they give everybody 40 points. I know we are totally the underdogs. I just want us to get better and I felt we did not do that at certain stages in this game. We will have a hard look at ourselves and whatever we have to do to rectify it we will.’
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