Cape Town – Ireland wing Andrew Trimble has brushed off claims from Springbok coach Allister Coetzee that the Irish “weren’t interested in playing” during the first Test at Newlands over the weekend.
Ireland stunned the Boks 26-20 in Coetzee’s first Test as new national coach.
It was Ireland’s first ever win over South Africa on these shores and what made the feat even more remarkable was that they did so my playing the majority of the match with 14 men after CJ Stander was red carded in the 22nd minute.
“They weren’t interested in playing,” Coetzee is reported as saying by the Irish Independent. “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.”
But right wing Trimble has dismissed Coetzee’s claims, saying it was difficult for them being a man down for the majority of the match.
“With 14 men it’s very difficult. We put on one or two new plays that we had preferred before the game, but roles change and it’s very difficult to organise things whenever you’ve got a winger on the flank and you’ve got no flanker,” Trimble told the Irish newspaper.
“It’s very difficult, it’s tough to play as much rugby as you’d have liked to have played. We were very clever, very streetwise and showed our experience being able to play the game with 14 men for 60 minutes, we’re very proud of what we did.”
Coetzee, meanwhile, is backing his players to hit back during the second Test in Johannesburg on Saturday.
“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,” the national coach told Sport24.
Coetzee also suggested that there will not be wholesale changes to his starting line-up for the second Test.
“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.”