Auckland - The wounded Springboks prepared to return to
South Africa on Sunday after their record hiding by New Zealand, warning that
Australia will feel the backlash in two weeks.
"We've got no option but to fight back in South
Africa," a grim coach Allister Coetzee said after the 57-0, eight-try
thrashing by the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.
"We've got Australia up next and from this learning
experience we will get stronger and I promise you we will be ready for
The Wallabies, who drew with the Springboks in Perth last
weekend, were on a high on Saturday as they celebrated their first win in the
Rugby Championship this year when they beat Argentina 45-20 in Canberra.
It was a totally different mood in Auckland where the
embarrassed Springboks were hurting after their worst defeat in storied
"We can't go on like this," a dejected captain
Eben Etzebeth said after the Springboks lost five of their lineouts, three of
six scrums and missing 33 tackles.
Conceding 57 unanswered points was worse than the 57-15
drubbing inflicted by New Zealand in Durban last year, and a worse losing
margin than the 53-3 defeat by England at Twickenham in 2002.
"It's tough. Obviously disappointing. I told (the team)
we can't go on like this," Etzebeth said with the Springboks remaining two
games in the championship against Australia in Bloemfontein on October 1 and
New Zealand in Cape Town the following week.
"I told them we have to pick our heads up and be ready
for those two home games and be much better."
The All Blacks remain unbeaten after four rounds of the
competition and appear headed towards a successful defence of their southern
Coetzee, meanwhile, tried to put a positive spin on the
crushing defeat, the Springboks first loss this year, saying there were
positives for his side.
"I'm obviously very disappointed and the players are
hurting, and it's definitely not through lack of effort. Passages of great
defence, passages of great attack but we couldn't break them. They were too
good," he said.
"A lot of people, if you look at the score, probably
think there were not a lot of positives. I would draw a lot of positives from
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen also said he did not believe
the scoreboard was a true reflection of the game.
"Our defensive work is probably as good as we've ever
had it. That made a big difference," he said.
"I think they're good side and the scoreboard probably
doesn't reflect the margins between the two teams. We've seen a pretty good
(All Blacks) performance and I think the South Africans forced that out of us.
The South Africans dominated the opening stages of the game
but the tone of the match changed when, against the run of play, Rieko Ioane
scored the All Blacks first try in the 16th minute.
From there, the All Blacks scored seemingly at will to lead
31-0 at half-time before adding a further 26 points in the second half.