Tom Banks and Quade Cooper of Australia tackle Lukhanyo Am of South Africa during their Rugby Championship match. Picture: EPA
Tom Banks and Quade Cooper of Australia tackle Lukhanyo Am of South Africa during their Rugby Championship match. Picture: EPA

Springboks’ discipline were ’a little off’ against the Wallabies

By Wynona Louw Time of article published Sep 12, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber says their ill-discipline cost them in their 26-28 Rugby Championship loss to Australia in Gold Coast on Sunday.

The Boks’ winless run Down Under – where they haven’t won since 2013 – continued as Quade Cooper completed a stunning performance with a penalty after the hooter to give the struggling Wallabies the win.

While the Boks scored three tries to the hosts’ one, they conceded 11 penalties - while they also missing 21 tackles – an uncharacteristic statistic for the South Africans.

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In stark contrast to Cooper, Handre Pollard produced a poor performance as he struggled with his decision-making, handling and, most importantly, his goal-kicking as he hooked two penalties and a conversion.

Speaking after the game, Nienaber said that their high penalty count gave Cooper – who hadn’t played a game for the Wallabies since 2017 – the platform to punish them.

“We scored three tries to one, but gave them 23 points off the kicking tee. That’s the reason why we lost.

“I thought we were quite dominant in the first 20 minutes. We probably had control of the game, but we lost control in the last 20. They got a bit of a lead on us.

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“I thought we did brilliantly to get back into the game. We lost it in the 82nd minute because of our discipline. We conceded a penalty. They played well. Australia deserved to win.

“I don’t think we were great today. Saying that I don’t want to take anything away from Australia. We were a little off our game, especially our discipline.

“We created opportunities. Sbu [Nkosi] was over the tryline, Lukhanyo [Am] was over the tryline and almost scored. There were opportunities to maybe get two more tries. We didn’t finish. So, it wasn’t a polished performance. We will have to fix those things and especially look at our discipline.”

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi added that it was always going to be a challenging Test in Australia – where they haven’t won since 2013 – and that their discipline let them down.

“We’ll never use not being ready as an excuse – when we step onto the field, we have to be ready,” said Kolisi.

“I thought we prepared well this week, but our discipline wasn’t good. The Wallabies played well. This is a hard place to come and win.

“We didn’t play the way we wanted to on the day, and their plan worked better than ours in certain areas.”

The Springboks will meet the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday before taking on the All Blacks in back-to-back matches on Saturday, 25 September in Townsville, and Saturday, 2 October in Gold Coast.

@WynonaLouw

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