Cape Town – Allister Coetzee’s first game in charge of the Springboks could not have gone much worse.
Not only did Coetzee guide South Africa to their first ever defeat against Ireland on home soil, but he had to watch on as the Boks spent the majority of the match playing against 14 men.
There was even a 10 minute period at the end of the first half where the visitors were down to 13 men, and in total Ireland played close to an hour of rugby with a numerical disadvantage following CJ Stander’s straight red for his hit on Pat Lambie.
It was not the start to the new Springbok era that passionate South Africans would have wanted, and Coetzee was made to explain it all at his post-match press conference.
“Very disappointed in both the performance and the result. It
is hurting … it’s not the ideal start,” he said.
“As a collective we take full responsibility
… we have disappointed ourselves.
“I have to give credit to the Irish. I think with 14 men they were outstanding.
“We were poor … there are no excuses.
“We’ve got to fix it and come back into this series. We accept full responsibility for our performance tonight.”
Coetzee bemoaned his side’s lack of discipline, saying that their constant giving away of penalties (the Boks conceded five in the first 10 minutes) disrupted their rhythm.
“Added to that, just the little execution mistakes … unforced mistakes when we wanted to attack,” he said.
“There is a lot to work on. The nail was hit deep in … very, very low … and we’ve got to fix it.”
Coetzee added that Saturday’s dose of international rugby spoke volumes about how far the northern hemisphere sides had come.
“I think what we’ve seen today is how well the northern hemisphere teams have caught up to the rest of the world,” he said.
“The Welsh were ahead against the All Blacks at half time, England put up a brilliant performance to beat Australia, the Irish beat us with 14 men.”
The second Test takes place on June 18 in Johannesburg.