THIS FELT LIKE ALOSS–COACH
Wallabies,Boks share honours again – a fair reflection in error-prone clash
SOUTH African coach Allister Coetzee says his team’s 27-all draw with Australia here last night felt like a loss. For the second time this season and in this year’s Rugby Championship, the Springboks and Wallabies drew a game, the first coming in Perth three weeks ago when the score was 23-all.
Bok flyhalf Elton Jantjies missed an 80th minute penalty that, had it gone through the uprights, would have won the game for the under-pressure Boks.
Coetzee’s men have only got the better of Argentina this season, home and away, and next face the New Zealand All Blacks in Cape Town on Saturday. The last time they met, in Albany two weeks ago, the New Zealanders won 57-0.
“It’s always difficult at home... it feels like a loss,” said Coetzee after yesterday’s match.
“But I’m proud of the team, and the effort they put in and the way they played. It’s been a tough two weeks. The players showed great character and they were tested out there after an emotional week.
“I’ve got no problem with the effort and the mindset is also right; the way we want to play.
“We created a lot of opportunities and that’s a massive positive, but we didn’t take them all and at the end I suppose you could say it was a game of missed opportunities.
“I think this team can feel they were better than the Wallabies. We’re taking the right steps in the right direction.”
The All Blacks, though, are expected to ask many more questions of the Boks’ defence than the Wallabies did, and Coetzee knows it’s going to take something special if his side are to come out on top in Cape Town.
“Now we can focus on next week. We’re playing a very good All Blacks side and we’d be living in a fool’s paradise if we thought we could topple them.
“We’ll keep building and keep taking strides but we’ll be ready for them.”
Wallabies boss Michael Cheika also felt his side should have and could have won.
“I’m very disappointed in the result. I thought we worked hard enough to get a win, but it wasn’t to be,” he said.
“We worked out their strategy pretty quickly, to try to run us off our feet and take away our puff, but we defended well and at the end I felt we managed the altitude factor pretty well.”
One of the major talking points of the match was the tackle on Bok wing Dillyn Leyds by Wallabies fullback Israel Folau. It appeared Folau had taken Leyds out by grabbing his hair, which resulted in Boks captain Eben Etzebeth seeing red and charging into the tackle situation.
Only a penalty was awarded against the Wallabies by Kiwi referee Ben O’Keeffe, something that infuriated the Bloemfontein crowd and the Bok players.
But Cheika said there was no way Folau had grabbed Leyds by the hair, but the Bok winger said otherwise.
“He definitely grabbed me by the hair, twice in fact.”
Coetzee said he would leave the matter in Sanzaar’s hands, while Cheika voiced his disapproval of Etzebeth, who he said had charged in with a leading elbow, but no action was taken against him.
Two average teams went at it hammer and tongs and after an exciting, if not, exhilarating 80 minutes they couldn’t again be separated – and perhaps that is fitting.
The reality is there isn’t much separating these teams, with the All Blacks way out in front for class and ability, and Argentina at the back of the queue.
The result will not sit well with the bosses at the SA Rugby Union, and rightly so.
The Boks really should never struggle against the Wallabies at altitude, and during the course of the 80 minutes yesterday, they were shown up badly as a team that want to play exciting, clinical, fast rugby, but are still some way off.
If the Boks produce a similar type of performance in Cape Town next Saturday, it could again get messy, as it did in Albany. The Boks may have produced a fun and entertaining performance, with the ball going through many hands, but it was by no means an effort to think they’ll rattle a team that put 57 points past them without reply in New Zealand.
Israel Folau try from scrum set move two switches with Folau charging from the inside to score untouched. Springbok defence left in sixes and sevens yet again.
Folau pulls Dillyn Leyd’s by the hair which fuels brawl between players. Moments later Boks lose lineout from five metres out and relieve sustained pressure on Wallabies on the cusp of the half-time interval. No sanction for Folau.
Jan Serfontein try gives the Springboks the lead for the first time in the game. Siya Kolisi runs on the right hand side of the field and went over Kurtley Beale before offloading to Leyds, who threw an inside pass which was collected by Serfontein.
Courtnal Skosan try. Boks running at full tilt from a lineout from the halfway line and showing some variation in running lines and speed with which they recycled the ball. Regained the lead 24-20.
Kurtley Beale try. Springboks inability to make offensive tackles made it easy for the Wallabies to get over the advantage line and with enough men sucked into the inside, the Wallabies threw the ball wide to Beale. Wallabies regained the lead 27-24
Elton Jantjies missed a penalty kick which would have won the Springboks the game but they had to settle for their second draw of the season against Australia.