Rugby | Coetzee to resist major changes

Cape Town – Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has suggested that there will not be wholesale changes to his starting lineup for the second Test against Ireland in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The Boks went down 26-20 to the Irish at Newlands on Saturday, but what made matters worse is that they spent close to an hour with a numerical advantage after CJ Stander was sent off for the visitors. 

All over the park there were performances that raised eyebrows. 

Willie le Roux struggled, Lionel Mapoe hardly touched the ball, Damian de Allende showed that he is still far from his best, Duane Vermeulen disappeared, Lood de Jager was surprisingly soft in contact while Frans Malherbe was a walking penalty. 

Off the bench, though, there were a couple of performances that did provide some encouragement. 

Pieter-Steph du Toit showed his athleticism for his intercept try while Warren Whiteley was full of energy and looked well up for it despite playing at flank. 

It is hard to read too much into the performances of those two players given their limited time on the pitch, but they did at least display an intensity that was perhaps lacking from the rest of the Bok pack. 

For that reason alone it may be tempting for Coetzee to make some changes ahead of what has become a must-win second Test, but the suggestion after the disaster at Newlands was that he would show faith in the men who became the first Springbok team to lose at home to Ireland. 

“I’m pleased with the reserves that made an impact, that is why they’re there,” Coetzee said.

“But I always believe you give players an opportunity to redeem themselves, they’re all disappointed.

“They all want the opportunity to fix it … there is no reason to panic. The only panic we have is to get it right for next week and the players understand that … they’re really hurting.”

Coetzee was backing his charges to come good in Johannesburg.

“We didn’t only disappoint ourselves but we disappointed South Africa because this team had all the backing and support … that carries an extra load and inspires us to get it back on track quickly,” he said.

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