Springbok mentor Jacques Nienaber said he was content his team created enough opportunities to win, so there was no need to change their game plan despite losing to the Wallabies – a view which has been endorsed by wing Sbu Nkosi.
A penalty after the final hooter by Quade Cooper snatched a 28-26 win for Australia in their Rugby Championship clash on the Gold Coast at the weekend and it was clear South Africa may be the world champions and No 1-ranked team, but they still need some guidance in terms of getting used to that tag and the target it paints on their back, as well as factors such as playing in front of away crowds again and the greater pace of the game in Australasia.
“The loss boils down to execution and we don’t need to go back to the drawing board,” Nkosi said.
“We have got a solid plan in place that led to us winning the World Cup – we’ve had a lot of success with it in the past – but we are still learning to be world champions. We are still growing that extra leg which is the ruthlessness to put teams away.
“It’s hard to say Plan A didn’t work when we scored three tries. We don’t need a Plan B, it is just our discipline that lost us the game. We all have a responsibility to get our forwards into a position where they can exert their dominance.”
Nienaber also pointed out that far from being the dashing advertisers of running rugby that the Wallabies like to portray themselves as, the home side also used the kicking game extensively at the Super Stadium.
“This is a tough place in which to win and Australia are a quality side with good coaches and they obviously prepared well,” Nienaber said.
“They can mix it up – they can play expansively or use a conservative kicking game like they did tonight. I thought we adapted well when they went to a kicking game, which they also did against the All Blacks, kicking from scrumhalf.
“The thing we didn’t adapt to though was the referee and the assistant referees’ interpretations in terms of discipline. But we would have learnt a lot of lessons about making big decisions under pressure.”