Springboks coach Allister Coetzee. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN - Having run the All Blacks desperately close at Newlands in a pulsating game of rugby, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says he’s “unbelievably pleased” with how their Rugby Championship campaign went.

The Boks produced a fine performance against the All Blacks in a clash that could have gone either way, and their confidence should definitely have been boosted by the 25-24 scoreline.

The Springboks - who finished third on the Championship log again, with New Zealand of course in the top spot and Australia in second - won just two of their Championship games and drew with the Wallabies twice, while their only victories came against Argentina early in the competition. Coetzee said he’s disappointed with the result, he explained that he is “unbelievably pleased” with how the Springboks played.

“Obviously we’re disappointed with the result, we needed two points. But it showed again that if you turn the ball over against the All Blacks, they’ll punish you,” he said. “I feel very sorry for the players, the way they trained this week was prevalent. It’s sad when players do everything they can, but they just don’t get the win. 

"It showed our processes are on track. I’m unbelievably pleased with how we played. We feel that we’re heading in the right direction. I’m really pleased with this year’s Championship, we lost two games and three could have gone the other way.”

The Springboks will have about a week off before they shift their focus to their preparations for the End of Year Tour, and while Coetzee said that continuity and team cohesion is going to be crucial, he added that he’s been scoping out a few younger players for their game against Wales.

“The next step is to make sure that we don’t get together one week before the tour. I’d like to keep team cohesion and continuity. The Wales Test is outside the international window, so I’ve been looking at a few young players that will join us," he said.

"We want to get back to our DNA, we want to get back to working hard for each other. We can only go from strength to strength, the year is not over, we’ve got four games left to go.”

Cape Times

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