Coetzee takes heart from fightback

Date published: November 6 2016

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South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee was pleased with the way a young Springbok outfit fought back for a 31-31 draw with the Barbarians.

The result might have been unsatisfying but South Africa found themselves 31-19 down with little time left at Wembley Stadium in London, before recovering thanks to Francois Venter and Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

“Obviously not happy with the draw, but there were a lot of pleasing aspects to our game tonight,” Coetzee told reporters.

“The first of that is the way we came back in the last ten to 15 minutes. When you are 11 points behind and you’ve got a young and inexperienced team, it easily could’ve gone the other way. But the players showed great fighting spirit to come back.”

Coetzee added that the Springboks had wanted to pressure the Barbarians set-piece and cited the number of turnovers his side made as an issue to be addressed in the build-up to facing England at Twickenham.

“I think the other pleasing aspect was the fact that we scored five tries, spotting the space and then we got the ball into that space. And we also left a couple of tries out there,” added Coetzee.

“I think our mindset in the first half was probably not as accurate as the way we wanted to play, not like the Barbarians, but to keep putting pressure on their set-piece, and getting territory and to play from there.

“The most disappointing thing was the amount of possession we turned over, and it’s very detrimental against a Barbarians side who are fearless, who have nothing to lose and want to play with the ball.

“That is something that we’ll have to work hard on this week (for the clash against England). But having said that, it’s been a great game of rugby, and I think the spectators really got value for their money today.”

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