Cape Town - The impact of the Lions players off the bench against Ireland on Saturday was impossible to ignore as the Springboks turned their 19-3 half-time deficit into a 32-26 win at Ellis Park.
It is a result that has given the Boks a chance to win the series in Port Elizabeth this weekend.
Coetzee was asked by the Johannesburg media to comment on the performances of players like Ruan Combrinck, Warren Whiteley, Julian Redelinghuys and Franco Mostert.
And while the coach was pleased with what he saw, he was reluctant to make it all about the Lions players and focused instead on the role the bench played as a whole.
"It’s important to know that you have guys on the bench that
can make an impact," Coetzee said.
"I’m just pleased that a Ruan Combrinck really took his
opportunity well. You don’t get a lot of players who, on debut, score a try and
he was outstanding.
"Even Julian Redelinghuys, Franco Mostert when he came on …
they played their part and that’s what you want.
"We’re not looking at Lions
players; we’re Springboks. Whether we have the green jersey or the white
jersey, we’re Springboks. Maybe the people look at it like that, but we’re
Warren Whiteley was another Lions player who was immensely impressive off the bench on Saturday.
He is expected to start at No 8 on Saturday in place of the injured Duane Vermeulen, despite being a slight injury concern himself with a knock to the shoulder.