Boks seek redemption

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And the promise from the humbled players is that it will be different this Saturday night in Buenos Aires, according to John McFarland, the unamused Bok defence coach. It seems that avenging the defeat to the Pumas is now the overwhelming priority in the Bok camp after it had long ago been planned that top players would not travel to the Argentine capital this week and would concentrate on fitness training.

McFarland, his wry Northern Irish humour intact, joked things might even have been different had one of the South African physios made a tackle on Juan Imhoff when the winger raced through for his hat-trick try after flyhalf Juan Hernandez had caught all on the field by surprise with a quick tap (instead of going for posts).

“The good thing about this week’s game is that sometimes you have to wait months to put it right when you lose like we did at the weekend, but we have only seven days of pain to get through,” said McFarland.

“We are obviously hurting after the loss,” he said, understating the obvious. “No-one likes to lose like that. There were some scathing words yesterday before we began preparations what we very much see as a chance to set the record straight.’

McFarland said the players and coaching staff did not beat about the bush when they exchanged views on what had gone wrong.

“Nobody held back, from players to coaches,” McFarland said. “We know the impact this loss has had (throughout the country). In terms of straight performance, it was made clear that what happened was unacceptable, and no stone was left unturned. What needed to be said was said.”

Burger and Habana said in the post-match aftermath that possibly the most worrying aspect of the defeat was that the players could not respond to emphatic pleas from the senior players.

McFarland echoed this.

“There were harsh words at half-time, and although we could not get it right in terms of our game, the players did show greater urgency,” he said.

“There were defensive individual errors in the first half and we all know we were flat and off the pace, and just weren’t quite there,” he said. “But we did out-score them in the second half and were trying our utmost to get back on track. The sucker punch, though, was that quick tap that led to the try.

“There were a few things that went against us,” he said. “There was a fair amount of holding in the first try. You can see it in the video. You are reliant on the touch judge and referee to pick up that sort of thing. The difference might just be half a metre but it makes all the difference in the end,” said McFarland.

“Their second try was a scrum on the line where they executed a well worked blindside move where they managed to isolate the defender,” he added.

“No arguments there. But when they scored their fourth try there were definitely still medical staff on the field. Although the referee did call ‘play on’ and maybe we should have reacted quicker, the fact is the referee should have cleared the medical people from the field first.”

The truth is that the Boks were never in the game because their forwards got a hiding, especially in the set-pieces. Nobody wants to be a defence coach when the opposition is getting quick ball. - The Star

Original source: Boks seek redemption

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