BLOEMFONTEIN - Having squandered several good-looking attacking moves against the Wallabies on Saturday, a few Springbok players have called on their teammates to produce a more mature showing when they face the All Blacks in Cape Town this week.
They dominated possession for long periods against the Australians in their Rugby Championship match in Bloemfontein on Saturday, but only managed to score three tries, by Courtnall Skosan, Jan Serfontein and Ruan Dreyer. The Wallabies also scored three tries in an even contest that ended in a 27-all draw.
And while Bok boss Allister Coetzee on Saturday evening was keen to see his players finish off their chances, the likes of Siya Kolisi and Malcolm Marx called on their teammates to show maturity at Newlands on Saturday.
“We worked so hard over the last two weeks (to come back well after the All Blacks defeat in Albany), but there were a couple of individual errors and passes that cost us,” he said.
“You can’t fault the guys. I thought there was a big improvement from our last match, when nothing went our way, but now we can focus on the next match, go all out, and then have a break afterwards.
"Being more mature perhaps will help ... (on Saturday) we sometimes needed one more phase, and then we might have scored.”
Marx, who was heavily criticised for the poor line-out work of the Boks in the Albany defeat, but who stepped up strongly with a good performance in Bloemfontein also felt his team weren’t clinical enough at the weekend.
“We didn’t always execute as well as we should have. The guys were quite excited, but we’re going to have to be more mature and hang onto the ball better, and build some phases next time. The good thing is it was a much better showing than two weeks ago. Now we move on to New Zealand.”
New winger Dillyn Leyds, who was involved in a controversial hair-pulling incident with Israel Folau, said it was a “dream come true” to have started his first Test for the Boks, after previously playing off the bench on three occasions.
“It was good, a dream come true,” said the Western Province man. “To be part of this team is amazing. We’re all disappointed we didn’t manage to get the win, but we’re happy with all the hard work we’ve put in behind the scenes.”
On that incident with Folau, who grabbed the winger by the hair in a tackle, and which led to Australian coach Michael Cheika getting all hot and bothered over afterwards, Leyds said: “Hundred percent he grabbed me by the hair, twice actually,” said Leyds, setting the record straight after Cheika insisted Folau had tackled him by the collar of his jersey.
“He grabbed it, got his left hand on, and pulled down,” added Leyds. Asked if the incident had got him hot under the collar, he said: “Na, by the time I got up Eben (Etzebeth) had the situation under control; there was no need for me to come in and push and shove.”