Boks eye rugby improvement v Ireland

A week of soul-searching will produce a much-improved performance in Saturday’s second Test and a turnaround for South Africa in their rugby series against Ireland, hopes Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss.

“We need to right the wrong but it’s not about taking revenge,” Strauss said on Friday after much reflection for the Boks in the wake of their shock 26-20 home defeat by the Irish in last Saturday’s first Test.

“It’s about our own standards. We have the ability to be better and have a much higher expectation of ourselves,” he told a media conference in Johannesburg on the eve of the Ellis Park showdown.

Strauss said it had been a difficult week for the team after the upset loss, made even more heroic for the Irish by the fact they played most of the match down to 14 men after an early dismissal.

For new captain Strauss and new coach Allister Coetzee, it was a nightmare start followed by a few days of introspection.

“I told the coach afterwards that we had let him down,” Strauss said. “Each player has his own way of dealing with defeat and I also told them after the game they need to get over it in the way they usually would.

“But a loss like that needs to hurt. But then we need to forget it and look forward to the next game. We have had a good week’s preparation, dealt with the issues we needed to deal with and fix a couple of things.”

Ireland, having won their first Test in South Africa, have a chance for an unlikely series win.

“I expect them to be physical, good at the breakdown area which is something we’ve worked hard on and in which we must improve,” added Strauss.

“We need to ensure quick ball for the backline to be dangerous.”

The second Test will be followed by the final clash of the series on June 25 in Port Elizabeth.

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