September 29, 2017 / 11:00 AM / in a year

Springboks go back to basics for Australia test

BLOEMFONTEIN (Reuters) - South Africa have been working hard on improving their line-out for Saturday’s Rugby Championship test against Australia, captain Eben Etzebeth said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - South Africa v France - Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - June 24, 2017 - South Africa's captain Eben Etzebeth is challenged by France's Gael Fickou and Jules Plisson. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The imposing lock admitted the Springbok set-pieces had been shambolic in their record 57-0 drubbing by New Zealand last time out.

“There definitely were line-out issues and it didn’t go that well, but it’s something that we’ve worked on really intensively this week, and it will be better,” Etzebeth told a news conference.

“We as forwards have to accept that it’s a combined thing. It’s not just one guy calling or one guy lifting. It just didn’t work on the day, we’re not pointing fingers at anyone, but that’s why we’ve worked really hard this week.”

Etzebeth has been stand-in captain for the last five tests, after Warren Whiteley was injured in the series against France, and has had to front up to much of the criticism that followed the All Blacks rout.

“It’s been a tough week to get over that result, but we have no option but to put that behind us no,” he added.

“The preparation has been outstanding this week and we’re excited to get another opportunity to focus on the job at hand. We simply have to bounce back.”

Reporting by Mark Gleeson,; Editing by Ed Osmond

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