Smit admits blow to pride after third loss
July 24, 2010
The Wallabies celebrate Drew Mitchell's crucial first-half try © Getty Images
South Africa captain John Smit admitted his side's first priority is restoring pride when they continue their Tri-Nations campaign on home soil after losing their third match on the road against Australia in Brisbane.
Will Genia's late try sealed a 30-13 victory for the Wallabies to extend South Africa's winless run at Suncorp Stadium, where the Springboks had Jaque Fourie and BJ Botha sin-binned.
"It's not a good start for us at all," Smit told Foxsports after the game. "When you go away from home you've got to try to get some points, we haven't done so. So we've got a lot of work to do back home.
"I think when you have a good season it's harder the next season and you've got to work even harder so we've got to make sure we do that work so we can get some pride back at home. It's nice to get home but we're also disappointed we're not taking any points back."
The visitors failed to get to grips with Australia's strategy of keeping ball in hand and attacking from anywhere - the same tactic the All Blacks used to great effect in their two opening victories over the Springboks in New Zealand. Smit said it was his side's continued poor discipline and not the tempo of the match which proved costly.
"It was [a fast tempo]. So it should be, that's the way you want to see it played. We've just got to try and make sure we keep our full team on there for the full 80," Smit said.
Australia skipper Rocky Elsom played up the significance of his side's desire to keep the ball in play and keep the pace as fast as possible.
"It's great to have a win here," Elsom said. "That's the style we want to play all the time. Playing it is not as easy as it seems sometimes. It didn't go perfectly in the beginning but we stuck to it and it paid off for us.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans agreed the South Africans had been "sapped" by his side's gameplan.
"We wanted to build as much pressure as we could and to do that you've got to keep the ball," Deans said. "It wasn't always successful but we asked enough to sap them and it made it more difficult when they did get the ball in terms of their attack."
Deans was happy with the result but admitted his side would need to reach another level of improvement to match the tournament-leading All Blacks next week.
"I'm clearly happy with the performance. There was a lot of stuff to be proud of, particularly the defence. We know next week we've got a [New Zealand] team coming who will do that plus a bit. They've got a lot of patience, they'll work us around, and we'll have to finish the opportunities that we get.
"We created some opportunities and didn't finish them so that's always frustrating. You usually don't get many in Tri-Nations but we created a few so that was good."
Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia also said the winning margin could have been greater had the Australians not blown a series of good chances.
Genia said. "The most pleasing thing about tonight's performance was we left about three tries on the park through a lack of finishing so we'll go away and work on that and that will stand us in good stead for the game against the All Blacks."
A subdued Peter de Villiers said his Springboks side had not performed the way he wanted but praised the Wallabies for their display.
De Villiers said: "We didn't get the result that we badly wanted. We did put some good plays together but we didn't capitalise from that. But the Wallabies were quite sound today, they were hard on the ball, all credit to them."
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter