And he’s certainly right about that. The 20-18 defeat at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence ranks alongside last year’s 34-32 loss to Japan as the two lowest moments in Springbok history.
Strauss tried to get his troops going, but poor execution of the lineout mauls, a lack of creativity on attack from the backs and a relentless defensive effort by the Azzurri ensured that Conor O’Shea’s team made history by beating the Boks for the first time in 13 attempts.
Strauss, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Friday, will retire from international rugby after next Saturday’s Test against Wales in Cardiff. While his lineout-throwing is unmatched in South Africa, his work-rate in general play and leadership skills has been questioned throughout the 2016 season.
While exemplary off the field, Strauss arguably doesn’t possess the inspirational qualities on it - in a way that someone like Warren Whiteley does for the Lions, for instance.
But Strauss, who earned his 65th Test cap in Florence, urged the team management and SA Rugby bigwigs to “have the right conversations” to fix the national team and the game as a whole.
“First of all, congratulations to Italy, they played a great game of rugby. Blows to the body are fine, but it’s the blow to the heart that will stay for a long time… It’s tough to deal with something like this, but it’s also important now to make the right decisions and have the right conversations,” he said.
“From my perspective, I will never try and make waves. I would like to really make a difference where you actually can. Where it makes an impact. I accepted this challenge at the beginning of the year and I am totally up for it. And I will do whatever I can to help SA rugby going forward, and contribute where I can going forward.
“This was a bad day… not a bad day, it was a very dark day for players, management and the whole South African rugby public. It’s a sad day, and as the guys who were on the field, we apologise for that - not that it is going to make anyone feel better about it. But ja, that’s not good enough for South African rugby.”
Original source: Time to make right decisions, says Bok captain