Scathing criticism may just be motivation the Springboks need ahead of All Blacks clash
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CAPE TOWN - HAVE the Springboks’ two defeats against Australia rendered their 100th Test against New Zealand meaningless?
At the weekend, the Boks produced one their poorest performances in recent years to fall to a 30-17 defeat against the Wallabies in Brisbane. Last week, they lost 28-26 in Gold Coast.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber after the game admitted that it was their worst performance in years after being comprehensively outplayed on Saturday.
The Wallabies scored four tries to the Boks’ one as the South Africans produced another error-filled performance to not only lose their No 1 ranking, but they also all but killed their aspirations of winning the Rugby Championship.
The result continued the Boks’ woeful record in Australia, where they have not won since 2013.
After the game, Nienaber said: “It’s definitely not only the worst performance of the year, I think it is the worst performance since 2018 – when we lost (32-12) to Argentina in Mendoza. That’s how poor this performance was. By far, it was not a great performance in every area.”
Vice-captain Handre Pollard also lamented their performance, but was adamant that their attitude wasn’t the problem.
“We are emotional and disappointed in ourselves, but we’ll have a look at the match (to) see where we went wrong and what we can do better, and then we have to make plans for next week,” Pollard said.
“It was very disappointing, but a huge Test awaits us next week and we have to get ourselves ready for that.
“We have to be very honest with ourselves in the review of the game and see where we can improve.
“But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves for too long. We must try to get over this quickly, so we’ll have a reset day on Sunday.
“There certainly won’t be a lack of motivation when we face the All Blacks, and in every Test for that matter. We know we are not good enough at the moment, but we’ll develop plans.
“The one thing I know about this team is when our backs are against the wall, we can come back strongly. We can’t say much more than that and we won’t make excuses, but we’ll come back next week and hopefully turn things around.”
The Boks will face their rivals in their 100th Test in Townsville this Saturday, and while any Test against the Kiwis is always one to be hugely anticipated, this one, of course, even more so.
It will mark the centenary of rugby’s biggest rivalry, but it has certainly been dampened by the Boks’ back-toback defeats against Australia.
Until now, the Boks have built even more hype around the blockbuster Test with their remarkable performances this season.
After having played their last international game on 2 November in the World Cup final, they defied the odds to secure a stunning series win over the British & Irish Lions, while they also bagged two Rugby Championship victories against Argentina at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
But given their current slump, much of that hype around their meeting with the Kiwis would naturally have faded.
They could, however, get themselves up mentally and prove that they are indeed world champions in every sense of the word despite their recent disappointments.
And with all the scathing criticism the Boks have faced and will undoubtedly face this week in the build-up to that massive Test, that just might be all the motivation they need to return to their best.