Allister Coetzee has bizarrely said he didn’t expect his side’s ill-discipline to be punished in the northern hemisphere and blamed that, among other things, for his side’s 38-3 defeat to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.
“We were ill-disciplined,” Coetzee said in Paris on Monday, two days after his team’s record loss to the Irish.
“Those penalties hurt us. In the northern hemisphere, three points are like a score (try)... they’re an important event. We didn’t realise penalties would hurt us so much.
“We have to make sure our discipline is intact (going forward), we have to make sure we are patient, and last Saturday, our execution let us down.”
After stating on Saturday night that there were no excuses for suffering such a heavy defeat, Coetzee seemed to look for every excuse under the sun for the hiding on Monday.
“Look at (Malcolm) Marx against (Rory) Best... Wilco (Louw, who replaced the injured Coenie Oosthuizen after just three minutes), he’s a young tighthead who conceded one or two penalties, but he’s done really well.
“Sometimes you don’t prepare for your reserve to play for 77 minutes. And the starting team trains more (during the week), but he had to step up and did well, he’ll get better,” said the under-fire coach.
“Our number of Test caps against a quality Irish side, the way they went about their kicking game, they were clinical.
“We gave away three penalties... we went down at a scrum, then for not rolling away, the next one at a ruck or no ruck for kicking the ball... those are the challenges in the northern hemisphere. All of a sudden, we were 9-0 behind.
“We handled the first four contestables (kicks into the air) well, but the fifth one we couldn’t control and they scored; in 25 minutes they were 14-0 up, and in the northern hemisphere, it’s quite a lead. Now there are a lot of questions... was there intensity, were we flat-footed?
“The point is, from that point till the 71st minute we were locked at 3-3. After we got a penalty and they got a penalty to make it 17-3, for 46 minutes it was 3-3.
“Then in the last nine minutes with the subs on, we imploded. The crux is, we were ill-disciplined.”
Coetzee said he was preparing his team for a mighty French backlash this weekend after Les Bleus failed to win in the three-Test series in June.
“They’re not the side that came to South Africa in June, and I’m not reading much into the All Black game last weekend,” said Coetzee.
“We have got to prepare for a much-improved French side, that’s the bottom line. There are certain things one must be good at against France... the scrum and maul, we’re going to have to deal with that.
“The focus, though, is purely on us... how much we learned (last weekend) and how much we need to get better. We’ve got a lot of respect for the French at home, and they’ll want to rectify the June series loss.”
Coetzee will name his line-up for the match on Thursday, but expect newcomer to the group Duane Vermeulen to be picked at No 8.