Heads could soon roll after Allister Coetzee’s Springbok team suffered its fourth defeat of the season in Christchurch yesterday.
After the All Blacks beat his team 41-13 in the AMI Stadium, the Bok coach appeared highly frustrated with the number of basic errors that his players made in the Rugby Championship test.
“I have tough choices to make when I’m back in South Africa,” admitted Coetzee.
“We’re getting one or two experienced players back in South Africa.”
He didn’t name any names, but it is expected that Pat Lambie will replace Elton Jantjies in the starting line-up.
“I know it’s bad to lose, but we don’t have to overreact. We don’t want to break players, even if they sometimes make the same mistakes as schoolboys.
“At Currie Cup and Super Rugby level, you can sometimes get away with mistakes. At test level, you go and stand behind the poles when you make mistakes. I really hope the number of errors will decrease and that the players will take responsibility,” Coetzee said.
“Errors often happen due to a lack of confidence. It’s important that players firstly do the small things right. After that, he can look at bigger things.”
Jantjies could pay dearly for a knock on after Bryan Habana’s flashy try. His kick-off after half-time, in which he kicked the ball straight into touch, is seen as another fundamental error in the match-up that further broke the momentum and swung the game in favour of the All Blacks.
South Africa’s tactical kicking has not been good this year and Lambie may become responsible for fixing this.
Jantjies did, however, defend very well in the first half, when the All Blacks targeted him as someone to run at.
But Jantjies can’t be the sole scapegoat. Various other players also underperformed and made unforced errors.
Apart from the basic errors, Coetzee also identified defence and decision-making as his team’s weaknesses.
“To be honest, our defence still needs a lot of work,” he said.
“The difference between the two teams is that New Zealand is very clinical. They know when and where to play. They make few errors.
“They attacked our blind side and exploited our defence. But those are all things we can fix. I’m still positive about the road that lies ahead.”
After the match, Bok captain Adriaan Strauss said that he had left the field due to cramps. He was also disappointed in his team’s errors.
“You have to give the All Blacks credit for their good game, but we’re a long way from our best,” said Strauss.
“The soft moments made the difference for me. At the same time, the All Blacks were also very good during the second half.”
Coetzee viewed Malcolm Marx’s test debut and Pieter-Steph du Toit’s play as positives to take from the match.