South Africa’s national rugby team have started their preparations for their second match in their end of year outgoing tour to Europe, against France in Paris on Saturday.
Duane Vermeulen, the experienced No. 8, has been recalled to the squad as a replacement for Coenie Oosthuizen who sustained a knee injury in their 38-3 loss against Ireland.
Most detractors have blamed coach Allister Coetzee for the Springboks’ dismal performances over the past two years.
SABC News spoke to former Springbok player Stefan Terblanche to try to make some sense of the Springboks record defeat to the Irish in Dublin on Saturday.
The Springboks started their preparations for the clash against the French with a gym and field training session at their base in Paris today.
While South African rugby fans will be willing the Springboks to pick themselves up and dust themselves off -following the crushing 38-3 loss to the Irish on Saturday, a win against France, will provide some hope, but certainly won’t be enough to solve the underlying problems.
Terblanche who earned 37 caps between 1998 and 2003, agrees but believes that the French will be looking to capitalise on the damage inflicted by Ireland.
“As SA rugby fans, we are already so battered and defeated in the last two years. 2016 was the worst year ever and now two record defeats I don’t think it will solve the long term problem that we have and the performance of the team.”
Saturday’s 35-point difference was the Springboks’ biggest ever defeat against Ireland, comfortably eclipsing the 32-15 defeat in Dublin in 2006.
Terblanche, who scored 19 tries in the green and gold, feels that the current squad isn’t cohesive enough but has sympathy for the players.
“Losing is one thing we can all accept, but the way the we lose is a major concern for me as an ex-player.”
Terblance says a coach has to take responsibility for his team’s performance and account for his poor team selection.
How long Coetzee will remain at the helm is anybody’s guess, but a once mighty South Africa, winners of two World Cups, now battered and bruised, still has three more Tests to navigate on the tour, against France, Italy and then Wales.