Springboks coach to show faith in under-siege team
SPRINGBOKS coach Alistair Coetzee says he plans to stick solid with the team who were hammered 57-0 by New Zealand and will likely throw under-siege winger Raymond Rhule back into the fray against the Wallabies on Sunday (AEST).
Coetzee fronted media ahead of the clash with Australia but the first port of call was to re-visit South Africa's horror show in Albany two weekends ago, where the Kiwis handed the Boks their worst ever Test loss in 126 years.
The Springbok coach was defiant, however, saying that "the Albany game doesn't define this team" and that the team had "buried" the game after re-entering camp at the weekend.
"It was one game where we were definitely poor, I'll never sweep that under the carpet," Coetzee said.
"The players already know it was sub-standard but again, we won five out of seven matches and in those wins, we were outstanding.
"The All Blacks showed why they were the number one team in the world. On the night they were unbelievable and it worked out for them.
"We needed the perfect storm and the ball bounced perfectly for them on the night."
While Wallabies coach Michael Cheika tipped his rival wouldn't make sweeping changes, one player expected to be replaced was Rhule, who missed nine tackles against the All Blacks.
Rhule is the Rugby Championship's worst defender, with 23 missed tackles in four games - over ten more than the next worst. He also had a woeful 56% tackle efficiency in Super Rugby this year.
But Coetzee said he didn't plan to "chuck" Rhule out of the team, which could open a window of opportunity for the Wallabies.
"Don't forget how good Raymond was against Australia. I'm not a coach who will look at one poor performance and chuck someone away. He was outstanding against the Wallabies," he said.
"There were a few areas where the All Blacks targeted us, but we will work on that and get better. In the seven tests Raymond has played, he has gained a lot of experience, so now do I just throw him out and start all over again with a new player?
"He was the first guy to text me and say 'I watched the game again and I could have been better here or there'. The big thing is about owning up and taking responsibility, which is what I enjoy about this group of players."