Cape Town - National coach Allister Coetzee has dismissed the notion that the Springboks have lost their aura of invincibility.
Former All Black coach Graham Henry recently criticised the Boks for their indifferent performances.
He was speaking after a first ever home loss to Ireland in June. In 2015, the Boks also lost to Japan and Argentina for the first time.
Henry wrote in a New Zealand newspaper: “In my time as All Black coach we played against Bok teams that we knew didn't have the talent and skills of us, but by g.., you knew you were in for an absolute war. That fire and pride seems to be dying slowly and I am struggling to understand why. A once feared opponent and now they are struggling to compete with top tier nations..."
However, Coetzee disagrees with the notion, telling Netwerk24 ahead of his side’s Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday:
“The Boks will never lose their aura. If any team believes that, it is doing so at its own peril. Bok rugby will always remain a symbol of excellence.”
Coetzee’s Springboks have had a stuttering start to this year’s Rugby Championship, unconvincingly beating Argentina in Nelspruit (30-23), before going down to Los Pumas (26-24) in Salta.
“We’re in a transition phase when one looks at players, leadership, playing style and management. It can happen to any team. Those are people’s own opinions if they feel we’ve lost our aura.
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. You can’t stop that. Sometimes you learn from it. I don’t read newspapers. Luckily we also don’t have any newspapers in our team rooms. I may read a newspaper when it’s cricket season.”
Saturday’s Test between South Africa and Australia at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane is scheduled for 12:05 (SA time).
15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Tevita Kuridrani, 23 Drew Mitchell
15 Johan Goosen, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Lionel Mapoe