Coetzee: Injuries won't weaken Irish

2016-06-06 10:00
Allister Coetzee (Gallo)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee does not expect the Irish to be any weaker in the June Tests despite key injuries ahead of the three-match series. 

Ireland were due to arrive in South Africa on Monday without some key members of their backline in instrumental flyhalf Johnny Sexton, Rob Kearney, Dave Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald. 

Those are names that, on the surface, make Ireland look a substantially less dangerous side on attack but Coetzee was not taking anything for granted.

"That is part and parcel of the game. We just lost Jan (Serfontein) last week as well," said the Bok coach.

"The big thing is that at national level you have the privilege to select other top quality players from different franchises and they can do it from different clubs.

"It will still be a very strong and competitive Irish team. I think from what I’ve seen in the Six Nations you mustn’t read too much into it.

"They were hit by injuries as well in this year’s Six Nations but were champs in 2014 and 2015.

"They’re sitting with a senior group of players and combinations, and that’s crucial to have that seniority in the team while we will be having a bit of balance, but more to the younger players coming in."

Coetzee said that the best way to combat the unknown entity of the new Irish players coming in was for the Boks to focus on themselves. 

There would be an emphasis on finding a balance betweem sticking to the old traditional strengths of South African rugby - the set-piece - while also looking to be expansive when the opportunities arose. 

"The old cliché about sticking to our guns and our processes," said Coetzee.

"It’s not a secret that as a Springbok team we would like to be right up there when it comes to the contact and the physicality.

"The focus is really on us and to make sure we get our plan going and what we want to achieve in the first Test. I’m not too worried about over-analyzing the opposition."

The first Test against Ireland takes place on June 11 at Newlands. Kick-off is at 17:00.

Read more on:    springboks  |  allister coetzee  |  cape town  |  rugby

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