'Hurting' Coetzee points the finger at players

Sun, 13 Nov 2016 10:58

REACTION: Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said some personnel changes are on the cards as he looks to salvage something from a disastrous year-end tour.

The coach blamed "individual errors" for the team's 21-37 loss to England in London at the weekend - South Africa's first loss to England in a decade.

The coach said  the team paid the price for not getting the basics right and said he was "frustrated" with the high error count.

England scrumhalf Ben Youngs twice sold dummies to set up tries for George Ford and Owen Farrell.

Apart from the defensive lapses, Coetzee also spoke of the team's inability to deal with England's aerial game.

The Springboks - who had a disappointing 31-all draw against a scratch Barbarians team before the weekend's loss - play Italy in Florence this coming Saturday and Coetzee said "there will be a few changes in the team".

"Hopefully that is the energy we need in the team,"  Coetzee added.

"It's hurting," Coetzee said after the match, following his side's defeat against the number two ranked team in the world.

He admitted the side is going through "tough times", but felt the positive was that the team didn't give up and kept fighting to the end.

"This team doesn't give up and I draw comfort from the way they kept fighting out there."

However, the fact that they have on only one of the last six Tests - one in seven internationals if the BaaBaas game is included - is a concern for the coach.

"We are our own worst enemies, making a lot of individual mistakes," he said, adding: "At crucial stages in the game we made mistakes and it [the game] was taken away from us.

"We had them under pressure, but we couldn't handle their contestable kicks. Those individual mistakes cost us," explained the coach.

"At a crucial stage before half-time we couldn't handle a contestable kick and they scored at the other end of the field.

"Defensively we made two blunders and it cost us two tries, but they are things we can fix," Coetzee, adding that they are things the Boks need to fix quickly.

"Players will have to learn and understand how important individual errors are and take responsibility for that.

"If we can improve by giving different players an opportunity we will also look at that."

Coetzee said that while it is tough at the moment, they have to hang in there.

"If we keep working  and focusing on the positive things it will come right," he said, adding that aerial skills are a massive work-on for South Africa.

He said it is vital that the Boks get a win against Italy to get the campaign back on track.

"In any team you can work as hard as you want, but for belief in structures and the team itself, you need to win.

"We will look at Italy next week and see the challenge that they pose and prepare accordingly."

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