Muir: We let SA down
London – Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir has conceded that the weekend’s performance against Scotland was an embarrassment and that only a victory over England on Saturday will do for South Africa’s seething rugby supporters.
“The goal we set for this tour was to achieve results. We did not cover ourselves in glory at the weekend ... in fact, it was an embarrassment. We want to regain some pride this Saturday,” said Muir.
Muir, forwards coach Gary Gold and head coach Peter de Villiers will fight for their futures again if South Africa lose at Twickenham this weekend.
In this instance the result is significantly more important than the quality of the performance or the rugby.
“I think we need the win,” said Muir. “The goal for the tour was to get results. We left a number of players at home, but as a nation we take pride from our results.”
There is also an awareness that the knives are out in South Africa.
“We have been in this situation before and South Africa is a proud nation that wants results. You know when you have not been up to scratch. We have another week to turn it around,” said Muir.
You enter this industry with the knowledge that most coaches get fired.
“We let ourselves down last week, but that’s history now and we have to look forward. The best we can now achieve is winning 75% (three out of four tests) and that is what we’re aiming for.”
South Africa trained in ice cold conditions on Wednesday. They are off on Thursday and then have a captain’s run on Friday.
Tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis did not take full part in training after suffering a calf injury earlier in the week. Indications are that his limited participation was only a precautionary measure and he will play against England.
Muir also emphasised the lessons learned from the defeat to Scotland.
“We kicked too much possession away. We planned on playing a certain way, but just could not adapt quickly enough,” he said.
“You also have to adapt to what your opponent does and I think Scotland were excellent. All credit to them. It’s definitely not the result we wanted and there is a game left to turn the situation around.
“This weekend is the big one!”
South Africa still have to play the Barbarians at Twickenham next week, but this Saturday’s match will determine whether the tour will be viewed as a success or failure.”