'Poor discipline cost us': Springboks coach demands improvement

Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) –


Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has demanded the world champions improve their discipline for the return clash with the Wallabies this weekend after their errors were brutally punished by Australian sharpshooter Quade Cooper.

The South Africans conceded 11 penalties in their 28-26 Rugby Championship loss on the Gold Coast Sunday and had to play for 20 minutes with 14 men after skipper Siya Kolisi and fullback Willie le Roux were sin-binned.

Of those 11, seven were in range for Cooper on his return to the side after a four-year absence, and he nailed them all, including a long-range kick after the hooter to win the match.

"Poor discipline cost us -- 23 points off the kicking tee (for the Wallabies) summed it up," said Nienaber, whose side lost despite outscoring Australia by three tries to one.

"In the first 20 minutes, I thought we dominated and had control over the game, and we were unable to do this in the last 20 minutes.

"We did well to come back late in the game and then we lost the match because we conceded a penalty. That said, Australia played well and they deserved the win."

Nienaber was also unhappy with points that went begging, with two potential tries missed and his kickers -- notably Handre Pollard -- making just four-from-eight.

"There were opportunities for us to score two more tries and we didn't finish them. It was not a polished performance," he said. "We'll have a look at the game, and we'll have to fix those things and improve our discipline."

The two sides meet again in Brisbane on Saturday, with the rest of the Rugby Championships being played in Queensland state due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

The South Africans were forced to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period on their arrival, confined to their hotel and a nearby training field.

But Kolisi refused to use it as an excuse.

"We'll never use not being ready as an excuse, when we step onto the field, we have to be ready," he said. "I thought we prepared well this week, but our discipline wasn't good."