CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa’s ill discipline again came under the spotlight on Monday following the weekend’s heavy defeat by Ireland, but coach Allister Coetzee denied a lack of effort from his team in Dublin.
At the same time, he warned that the beleaguered Springboks face another tough test as they continue their end-of-season tour with a match against France in Paris on Saturday.
“The crux of the matter is we were ill-disciplined. We didn’t realise penalties would hurt us so much and the three points in the northern hemisphere is almost like a try,” Coetzee told a news conference.
“We’ve got to make sure our discipline is intact. We need to have patience. The Irish, what they did well, they stayed very patient in their kicking game. They didn’t do anything spectacular. Everything was from our turnovers.
“But to just say there’s a lack of effort is awful. It’s also not true.”
Coetzee was responding to criticism aimed at the team from back home in South Africa after the 38-3 loss.
“We have faced this before. We came back from 57-0 (defeat against the All Blacks in September). It’s about taking responsibility, each and every one. It is not easy. We’ve got to put that behind us,” he added.
“This is a good young South African side. If given the opportunity, they will learn from this and they will get better. I’ve seen this movie before. A team goes through a lot of struggles and a learning phase and all of a sudden things click. They gel and they start winning.”
Saturday’s meeting at the Stade de France follows three test wins at home for the Boks over the French in June.
But Coetzee warned: “It’s definitely not going to be the French side that toured South Africa earlier this year and I don’t read a lot into the game against the All Blacks.
“I think they came back nicely. There are a lot of players who are playing well in the side at the moment,” said the South Africa coach of France’s 38-18 loss to world champions New Zealand last Saturday.
“The French will always be a threat at home and we’ve got a hell of a lot of respect for them,” Coetzee added.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Christian Radnedge