Washington – Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, offered no excuses for the Springboks’ narrow 22-20 loss against Wales in difficult conditions in Washington DC on Saturday evening.
Wales scored their third and decisive try right at the end of the Test when reserve hooker, Ryan Elias, dotted down after a clearance kick by Robert du Preez was charged down.
Earlier in the match, the Springboks fought their way back from a halftime deficit of 14-3 to lead by 20-17 thanks to second-half tries by both debutant wings, Makazole Mapimpi and Travis Ismaiel, and penalty goals by Elton Jantjies and Du Preez.
“We knew there would be risks involved by only coming over later in the week, but we’re not making any excuses – the Welsh showed more determination in the end to clinch the game,” said Erasmus.
“All their tries were scored as a result of kicking – a charged down kick and box kicks we failed to control – and also we committed some defensive errors. We had our chances to score, and overall I think it was the pressure, which they were able to put on us at the end, that won it for them.
“The one positive for me is that there were quite a few new players who got caps today and now know what it’s like to play against a quality team like the Welsh, but it’s still a Test that we lost, and that hurt.
“It’s never nice when you play your first Test and you lose, and we didn’t want that result, but we wanted to get all of the uncapped players on the field and start building towards the future. However, we still lost and that almost nullified the fact that we capped a lot of new players.”
Looking forward to the three-match Incoming Series against England, which starts next Saturday in Johannesburg, Erasmus said: “We will have to step up against England. We know the pressure will be on us to win, just as they would also be under pressure to be successful following their recent results.”
The Springboks will return to South Africa on Monday to start preparations for the first Test against England on Saturday at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg
Tries: Amos, Williams, Elias
Conversions: Anscombe (2)
Tries: Ismaiel, Mapimpi
Conversions: Jantjies (2)
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit (captain), 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Warrick Gelant
15 Hallam Amos, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 George North, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Ellis Jenkins (captain), 6 Seb Davies, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Nicky Smith
Substitutes: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Hadleigh Parkes