No excuses from Ewen McKenzie
September 8, 2013
Bryan Habana and the Springboks out-enthused the Wallabies © Getty Images
Nnot going to sit here and lament who we don't have'%]
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie offers no excuses for his outmuscled side's stunning 38-12 capitulation against South Africa in their Rugby Championship Test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Australia sorely missed skipper James Horwill, a late withdrawal due to a hamstring strain, and four more of their most physical forwards as the Springboks dominated the collisions, breakdown and scrum. Scott Higginbotham, David Pocock and Wycliff Palu were also absent, while tall Hugh McMeniman and Peter Kimlin are also sidelined, and the Wallabies' back-five forwards shared an average of just 12 caps. The Springboks exposed their international inexperience in the four-try drubbing, but McKenzie dismissed concerns about the lack of experienced campaigners.
"I'm not going to sit here and lament who we don't have," he said. "It's easy to lament who's not here but in the end we've got the players who have earned their spots and they are desperate to go out there and play. They have to make the most of their opportunities, and it's their time to shine, so if we're not getting the outcome then we'll go back and have a look."
The Springboks turned the tables at the breakdown, an area in which the Wallabies have traditionally dominated in Mandela Challenge Plate clashes on home soil, but McKenzie shielded his back-row of Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy and Ben Mowen from blame. He said there wasn't a good enough effort right across his team at the crucial tackle area, where Boks flanker Francois Louw was a standout.
"We're fielding some of our most competitive back-rowers, that's what they've been doing all year," McKenzie said. "I'll be looking at the whole team in terms of the breakdown contribution."
Jean de Villiers and the Springboks ran in four tries to none in Brisbane © Getty Images
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9