Etzebeth: We can't go on like this

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 20:22

REACTION: The wounded Springboks prepared to return to South Africa on Sunday after their record hiding by New Zealand, warning that Australia will feel the backlash in two weeks. 

"We've got no option but to fight back in South Africa," a grim coach Allister Coetzee said after the 0-57, eight-try thrashing by the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.

"We've got Australia up next and from this learning experience we will get stronger and I promise you we will be ready for Australia." 

The Wallabies, who drew with the Springboks in Perth last weekend, were on a high on Saturday as they celebrated their first win in the Rugby Championship this year when they beat Argentina 45-20 in Canberra. 

It was a totally different mood in Auckland where the embarrassed Springboks were hurting after their worst defeat in storied history. 

"We can't go on like this," a dejected captain Eben Etzebeth said after the Springboks lost five of their line-outs, three of six scrums and missing 33 tackles. 

Conceding 57 unanswered points was worse than the 15-57 drubbing inflicted by New Zealand in Durban last year, and a worse losing margin than the 3-53 defeat by England at Twickenham in 2002.

"It's tough. Obviously disappointing. I told [the team] we can't go on like this," Etzebeth said with the Springboks remaining two games in the championship against Australia in Bloemfontein on October 1 and New Zealand in Cape Town the following week. 

"I told them we have to pick our heads up and be ready for those two home games and be much better." 

The All Blacks remain unbeaten after four rounds of the competition and appear headed towards a successful defence of their Southern Hemisphere crown.

Coetzee, meanwhile, tried to put a positive spin on the crushing defeat, the Springboks first loss this year, saying there were positives for his side. 

"I'm obviously very disappointed and the players are hurting, and it's definitely not through lack of effort. Passages of great defence, passages of great attack but we couldn't break them. They were too good," he said. 

"A lot of people, if you look at the score, probably think there were not a lot of positives. I would draw a lot of positives from this game." 

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen also said he did not believe the scoreboard was a true reflection of the game. 

"Our defensive work is probably as good as we've ever had it. That made a big difference," he said.

"I think they're a good side and the scoreboard probably doesn't reflect the margins between the two teams. We've seen a pretty good [All Blacks] performance and I think the South Africans forced that out of us.

The South Africans dominated the opening stages of the game but the tone of the match changed when, against the run of play, Rieko Ioane scored the All Blacks first try in the 16th minute.

From there, the All Blacks scored seemingly at will to lead 31-0 at half-time before adding a further 26 points in the second half.

Agence France-Presse

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