Sunday 21 January 2018

South Africa coach: Ireland weren't interested in playing any rugby

Ruaidhri O'Connor in Johannesburg

South Africa coach Allister Coetzee has said Ireland had no interest in playing rugby at Newlands on Saturday and laid the blame for his side’s 26-20 first Test defeat at the door of his own players.

While the Springbok supremo praised the touring side’s work ethic when they were down to 13 and 14 men, he was less impressed with their tactics.

The former Stormers boss said his team were “embarrassed” by elements of the video review and promised they would be much-improved when the teams meet in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Considering they played for almost an hour without CJ Stander and for 10 minutes without Robbie Henshaw, it’s no surprise that Ireland spent most of the time without the ball; but they managed to create two tries, one of which came with the Munster captain off the pitch.

They will hope to make the coach eat his words with a full 15 at Ellis Park this weekend.

Read more: Alan Quinlan: Brilliant achievement can kick Ireland onto next level

“They weren't interested in playing,” he said.

“All they did was make it as difficult as possible for us to exit, just put it in behind us, turn us and we were actually bogged down in our own 22 there. They got a drop goal and a chip try and it was a very clever tactic and I don't think we handled it well but I think we will be better this week.

“What you shouldn't be sucked into is the complete Super Rugby vibe, where it's almost like a feel-good scenario where we keep ball in hand and run it from everywhere.

“Sometimes it looks on, but it isn't and you get shut down in your own half or you turn your own ball over in your own half.

“Test rugby is a little bit different, the players have a full understanding now about what Test rugby is about.

“All credit to the Irish, they really scrambled and they worked exceptionally hard when they were one guy short.

“But still, we allowed it to look really good.”

South Africa have called up experienced Stade Francais out-half Morné Steyn as a replacement for Pat Lambie who has been ruled out of Saturday’s game.

And Coetzee wants to see improvements this weekend.

"We need to really work on our execution, the big positive for me was the amount of opportunities we created," he said.

"When we do the review today, the players will be in a way embarrassed to see that that's what happened and that we couldn't convert.

"Our conversion rate in the Irish '22 was really terrible. It's not to the standard of the Springboks and we know that, but it's something that we really can get right."

Meanwhile, Stander’s hearing has been put back until this afternoon with Terry Willis reconvening at 2pm.

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