Rugby Championship
Heyneke Mayer sorry for 'unacceptable' Springboks showing
ESPN Staff
August 8, 2015
Argentina celebrate victory over the Springboks at the final whistle
Argentina celebrate victory over the Springboks at the final whistle© AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Springboks coach Heyneke Mayer has apologised for his side's "unacceptable" performance in Saturday's Rugby Championship defeat to Argentina.

The Pumas finally ended their wait for a Test victory against the Boks as they produced a brilliant performance to win 37-25 in Durban. While Mayer admitted the loss at Kings Park will hurt his players, he does not believe it will have an adverse effect on their Rugby World Cup prospects.

"We need to give credit to Argentina, who outplayed us today," said Mayer, whose side finished bottom of the Rugby Championship table. "They delivered a great performance and deserved the win. They played a game that suited them and not us. We could not adapt and sadly, we were just not good enough today.

"We have let our country and our supporters down today with this unacceptable performance. We are a proud team, but you will lose sometimes. What we dished up in the first half was very poor. I apologise to the nation as the buck stops with me as coach. There are no excuses. I take responsibility and will work harder to rectify this before the Rugby World Cup.

"We managed quick ball against New Zealand and Australia despite them having two of the best opensiders in the world. Today we could not manage that, for a variety of reasons.

"This does not put us back for the Rugby World Cup. We are a much better team than this. We will be working even harder. I still believe we are in contention for the World Cup. We are getting a number of big ball carriers back soon and we will be better for it."

Jean de Villiers made his return for the defeat: the South Africa captain suffered a horrific knee injury against Wales in Cardiff eight months ago.

De Villiers said afterwards: "Credit to them, on the day they were a far better team than us. We conceded such easy tries, three off set-phase. It was just too easy. We, on the other hand, had to work very hard for our tries. We were all lethargic today. We need to find a reason why it happened. We prepared well, but everyone was down today.

"Yesterday's captain's run was good, the guys were focused. We were asleep and then played catch-up rugby though. We will sit down and have a hard look at ourselves. We can't convert at the moment."

However, several incidents appeared to irk De Villier - none more so than Juan Imhoff's controversial hat-trick try at the beginning of the second half.

"The medics were still on the field, so that was frustrating when they scored that try. We should have been ready though, but did not react the way we should have. It costs you games as we saw tonight," De Villiers added.

South Africa, who have not yet won a Test in 2015, confirmed that De Villiers suffered a slight injury to the jaw. Marcell Coetzee had to be replaced due to a knee injury, although an update on his condition is expected after assessment.

© ESPN Staff

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