Embattled Coetzee having second thoughts about his selection policy
Beleaguered Bok coach Allister Coetzee is having second thoughts about his selection policy that backs continuity to help avoid another end of season northern hemisphere whitewash.
His team slumped to a crushing record 38-3 defeat at the hands of Ireland in their tour opener in front of frenzied home team support on Saturday.
It was a match the tourists were desperate to win and get onto the front foot for the rest of the tour which also features matches against France‚ Italy and Wales.
Instead Coetzee’s team was outplayed by an Irish team that played with great verve and vigour in the scrum and breakdown collisions as well as greater zeal in attack.
The Springboks were uninspiring in blue print and execution as they suffered their third defeat of the year.
It is the manner in which some of those defeats were suffered that will rankle with those who bleed green and gold.
The coach conceded it may be time to give more peripheral players an opportunity to show their wares when the Boks play France at Stade de France on Saturday.
“One has to go have a look again and see whether there will be value added to the team if you make those changes‚" he said.
"Coenie Oosthuizen (MCL injury) is a big loss for us at tighthead.
"Young Wilco Louw played well. We can build on that.”
When asked to explain a defeat that carried some of the hallmarks of the hammering the Springboks received in Albany (57-0 against the All Blacks a few months ago) Coetzee was at a loss.
“Ya‚ it is difficult to explain. Look‚ no positives from our side. It is a disappointing defeat.
“As a group we take full responsibility. We let ourselves down and our support back home.
“The Albany thing was tough but we came back. We’ve got three games left on tour and we just have to fight our way back from this on tour.”
Coetzee also reminded that Ireland boast more experience in the spine of their team and rattled off names of players who featured in the last contest in Ireland.
“It makes a helluva difference‚” he said.
The reality he and his coaching staff will have face up to‚ however‚ is that their players aren’t sufficiently reacting to the technical and tactical blue print as prescribed by the brains trust.
The Boks have delivered wildly inconsistent performances this season‚ a point obviously not lost on the coach.
“Our inconsistency is something I’d like to see us improve in a big way.
“We had a great week in the build up but that did not translate onto the field. That is something you have to look at first and foremost.
"In training there is no lack of effort. We have to look at each individual player in the group.”
He knows too that the defeat will heap more pressure on him for solutions‚ if not his employers for alternatives.
“We are always under pressure at test match level. You know when you lose a test that you are under pressure.”