South Africa looking to rebound and end poor year with a win

The Springbok's reputation has taken a battering this year

BY Simon Maguire 15:33 Wednesday 23 November 2016, 15:33 23 Nov 2016

South Africa's Bryan Habana ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

South Africa travel to Cardiff this weekend looking to end a poor year with a win in the Welsh capital.

The appointment of Allister Coetzee at the beginning of the year was widely welcomed among Springbok supporters and media alike but the year has turned into a bit of a disaster.

A first defeat to Ireland on South African soil against 14 men for most of the match (and against 13 for some of it) was seen as a national humiliation. The Bokke rebounded though and clinched a 2-1 series win as the visitors let a commanding second-test lead slip and the home side held out in the third.

A disappointing Rugby Championship followed with the South Africans winning only two of their six matches. A record 57-15 home defeat to New Zealand was the real low point as a relentless All Black team pummeled the home side running in nine tries by the time the final whistle blew.

It hasn't gotten any better as the South Africans headed north for their end of year tour. A draw with the Barbarians was followed by their first loss in a decade to England and a first ever loss to Italy last weekend.

Pressure is mounting on Coetzee but captain Adriaan Strauss is calling on the players to stand up and take responsibility for the current crises.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference assistant coach Matt Proudfoot said: "Adriaan stood up at the start of the week and made it clear that what has been happening is just unacceptable. He held nothing back and said that he wants a much better performance, that the Bok jersey stands for much more than what has been delivered on this tour. The captain was very clear and delivered a very strong statement on what needs to be done."

South Africa have dropped to 5th in the latest world rankings and could plummet further with another poor showing in Wales. 

 

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