CAPE TOWN • South Africa offered no excuses for their disappointing defeat by Ireland on Saturday, with coach Allister Coetzee ordering his players to go and "fix it".
An embarrassed-looking Coetzee praised the opposition and admitted his side's shortcomings after South Africa were beaten 26-20 by Ireland at Newlands in an error-ridden performance in the first of their three-Test rugby series.
Not only was it Ireland's first victory in South Africa after more than half a century of trying, they also achieved it with a virtual 14-man team after C.J. Stander was sent off after 20 minutes.
"This performance lacked the standards expected of a Springbok team. We are very, very disappointed with this performance and the result. It was not how we want to perform as a team," Coetzee said.
"The performance was not good enough if you want to be called a Springbok. Test match rugby is not Super Rugby. Discipline will cost you at this level.
"We conceded eight penalties in the first half, made too many little mistakes on attack. Lots of hard work awaits and we have to fix it."
Coetzee, taking charge of his first match since replacing Heyneke Meyer, applauded the effort from the Irish. "They played outstandingly well, considering that they competed with 14 men for so long. They deserved the win," he said.
Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss said his team could not create any momentum because of unforced errors and penalties conceded.
"This was a disappointing effort from us and we need to work hard this week to fix it," he said. "We had opportunities to score on a number of occasions, but did not execute well enough. We also did not defend well enough. We let ourselves down."
The second Test is at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday and the last encounter in Port Elizabeth on June 25.