Team to focus on next game

2015-09-23 06:00
TRY SCORER: Adriaan Strauss scores a fourth try for the Springboks against Japan on Saturday. 

Stefan Wermuth

TRY SCORER: Adriaan Strauss scores a fourth try for the Springboks against Japan on Saturday. Photo: Stefan Wermuth

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ADRIAAN STRAUSS insists the Springboks only have themselves to blame for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup (RWC) defeat to Japan.

The 1995 and 2007 RWC champions were left stunned as Japan scored a try at the death to snatch a 34-32 win at the Brighton Community Centre, England, in their opening game of Pool B.

It was the worst possible start to the campaign for Heyneke Meyer’s men, who now face an up-hill struggle to reach the knock-out stages.

“It is difficult to explain the disappointment of losing to Japan. It really hurt a lot as we let down a lot of people, ourselves included. We take full responsibility for the defeat and we now have to fix it on the field, starting with Samoa on Saturday,” Strauss told Express from England.

South African rugby fans are of the opinion that the Springboks underestimated the low-ranked Japan, but Strauss disagreed with them. “They (Japan) deserve a lot of credit for the way in which they played and how they put us under pressure.

“For us it was one of those bad days at the office that happens every now and again and we now have to look forward and put it behind us as we still have a chance to resurrect our RWC dream,” said Strauss.

The Philippolis-born said it was very difficult to take any positives out of such a defeat. He said their focus was now on the next match against Samoa at Villa Park in Birmingham on Saturday, 26 September. Kick-off is at 17:45. “As I’ve said, we need to look ahead to our next game, that is where our focus must be,” he said.

“We have to bounce back, but not at their expense, rather because we owe it to ourselves and our country,” he added.

Despite losing the match, Strauss scored such an important try for South Africa but it counted for nothing as the Boks went on to lose the match.

“It is always good to get on the score sheet but rugby is a team sport and not about the individual. In the end, we did not win it and it does not matter how many tries you score,” he explained.

After their match against Samoa, the Springboks will face Scotland at St James’s Park in Newcastle on Saturday, 3 October.

In their last group stage fixture, South Africa will square off with USA at Olympic Stadium in London on Wednesday, 7 October

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