Saturday 14 December 2019

Skipper Strauss taking Ireland loss personally but insists 'this is not about vengeance'

Adriaan Strauss Picture: Sportsfile
Adriaan Strauss Picture: Sportsfile

Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss has warned his team to put revenge to the backs of their minds as they look to level the Test series against Ireland in Johannesburg.

The hooker, who could go head to head with his cousin Richardt Strauss, who is on the Ireland bench, was installed as skipper by new coach Allister Coetzee for the games against Ireland and says he is taking the 26-20 loss in Cape Town personally.

The Boks have come in for a lot of criticism since the Newlands result, with one national newspaper describing them as "miscreants" yesterday. And Strauss is determined to get his side back winning ways at Ellis Park, South Africa's traditional fortress.

"We need to right the wrong, it was personal for me," he said.

"This is not about vengeance, this is about our own standards. We are a great group of players and we have the ability to be better than we were last week. We need to live up to that expectation the supporters have.

"We said before the first game we have high standards for ourselves. The vision the coach has for us, we want to chase that in every single game.

"We definitely let ourselves down, the supporters and the country, but we also let him (Coetzee) down as well. As players we want to make a step up."

Strauss wants his side to show more intelligence against an Ireland team who survived for 48 minutes with 14 men, and 10 minutes with 13, in Cape Town.

And, while he didn't feel that performance was all negative, he is demanding improvement.

"There were a couple of positives," he said. "Our set-pieces went well at stages and we also created a bit of opportunities. We could have scored a lot more and our decision-making in some instances wasn't there.

"The ruthlessness of getting over the line - I believe that will be there this weekend.

"We need to be smart with the rush defence where they get off the line. And we need be better up front at maul time - that is one area we pride ourselves in - they did well there and they gained a bit of momentum there. So that is an area we must face up to.

"Again, at the breakdown they were effective at turning over the ball and disrupting us, so the breakdown will also be crucial."

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