Cape Town - Allister Coetzee has acknowledged that the Springboks were 'tactically naive' in their 26-20 loss against Ireland at Newlands on Saturday.
The Boks played the majority of the match against 14 men, and some of it against 13 men, but they were only able to score two tries as their discipline and execution let them down on a day where the dawn of a new era was supposed to be celebrated.
But nothing went according to script for the Boks, and they now travel to Johannesburg this week knowing that only a win will suffice.
Coetzee revealed afterwards that a major part of the Bok plan had been to kick into space behind what was expected to be a rushing Irish defence.
That didn't happen, due largely to the fact that Ireland's positional play was good and that they always had two or three man back anticipating the kick.
As a result, the option to keep ball in hand seemed attractive to Boks and their numerical advantage meant that they often had the numbers out wide.
"I think we were a bit naive, tactically," Coetzee conceded.
"The second opportunity (to kick in behind the defence) was when Patrick Lambie got
"He saw that space, but we didn't do it it again.
"The space was given
by the Irish out wide … and then we weren’t clinical. We moved laterally across
the field and then we got pushed into touch or we lost the ball out wide. If we
could fix those little things I think we could improve."
Lambie was knocked out cold by a flying CJ Stander - the Irish flank was sent off as a result - and Elton Jantjies entered the fray.
The Lions flyhalf looked to spark attacks whenever possible and he was extremely influential in Lwazi Mvovo's try, but the plan to go to the boot disappeared with his arrival.
wouldn’t want to use that as an excuse. I have to go look at why we didn’t kick
in behind them because that was definitely our plan," said Coetzee.
"Elton is a quality player
but I just think they were a bit clever by showing face at the back … you felt
that the space was covered at the back, and therefore we played.
opportunities to play when we went to the wide channels as well, but there we
were too lateral."
Coetzee added that he could not fault the effort of his players, but he knows that their performance simply wasn't up to standard.
"The execution errors … it’s not good
enough to be a Springbok and they’re well aware of that," he said.
"The Irish played much
better than us and we must live with it and get it right in the rest of the
The second Test takes place on Saturday at Ellis Park.