Australia 30-13 South Africa, Tri-Nations, Brisbane, July 24
Smit admits Boks hit self-destruct
July 25, 2010
South Africa's John Smit protests to referee George Clancy following a yellow card for Jacque Fourie © Getty Images
South Africa captain John Smit admitted his side only had themselves to blame for their 30-13 defeat at the hands of Australia in Brisbane.
For the third week in a row the Springboks were rocked by ill-discipline with yellow cards for centre Jacque Fourie and prop BJ Botha that handed the Wallabies a priceless advantage at the Suncorp Stadium. Fourie was sin-binned in the in the second minute of the match by Irish referee George Clancy for a spear tackle on Wallabies No.8 Richard Brown while Botha was given his marching orders for killing the ball in the second half.
The Springboks' latest reverse follows back-to-back defeats to New Zealand that were also marred by costly indiscipline and Smit was quick to criticise his players for not learning the lessons of recent weeks. "I think we just have to be honest with ourselves," said Smit. "It's hard when you're asked about the type of game we have to play and it's hard to answer because we haven't played our game yet.
"We've got ourselves to blame for all three weeks, so we're not on the money really.
"It wasn't an ideal situation [losing Fourie]. I just couldn't believe it happened again for the third week in a row; it can't keep happening surely. It's hard to play with 14 men at this level.
"You can see the pace of the Tri-Nations is fantastic when you're a man down you have to cover a lot more ground and it doesn't hurt you [for] 10 minutes, it hurts you in the 40 or 50 [minutes] that finish the game."
Smit is in line to win his 100th Test cap against New Zealand in Johannesburg on August 21 but like many of the side's established stars he faces a thorough examination of his own form before their next outing in Soweto.
"[Tackling's] probably been the poorest facet our last three weeks. And we're very realistic, how poor, how average we've been in most areas in the last three weeks," Smit said. "We'll be the first to say that we've been poor, the defence has been poor, the breakdown's been poor."
The hope for the South African side remains that their dominance on home soil, and an extended break, will see them ready to repel the Aussies and Kiwis in a few weeks.
Coach Peter de Villiers spoke of positives in South Africa's first three games after the latest loss, but Smit was blunt about the improvements needed.
"We're very realistic about how poor, how average we've been in most areas in the last three weeks," he said. "As apparent as it is to you, it hits us even more so, so we're very aware of the work that we have to do over the next weeks before we can get the next chance to rectify those assets. We've got a hell of a lot to work on."