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Coetzee delighted with Boks fightback

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The Springboks and the Barbarians played to an exciting 31-31 draw at Wembley on Saturday and Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, said afterwards he was pleased with some aspects of his young side’s performance. The teams scored five tries each and the Barbarians led 17-12 at halftime.

Coetzee praised the character of his team for wiping out a 31-19 deficit to eventually draw the match, and although the Bok coach was pleased with the five tries scored, he was not happy with the amount of possession his side turned over to the opposition.

The international match  was the opening fixture of the South African’s Castle Lager Outgoing Tour. The Springboks will play England next week at Twickenham, and that encounter will be followed by Tests against Italy and Wales on consecutive weekends.

Coetzee praised his young side for their fighting spirit in front of an enthusiastic 46 000 strong crowd at Wembley. “Obviously not happy with the draw, but there were a lot of pleasing aspects to our game tonight,” he said at the post-match media conference.

“The first of that is the way we came back in the last ten to 15 minutes. When you are 11 points behind and you’ve got a young and inexperienced team, it easily could’ve gone the other way. But the players showed great fighting spirit to come back.

“I think the other pleasing aspect was the fact that we scored five tries, spotting the space and then we got the ball into that space. And we also left a couple of tries out there,” added Coetzee.

The Bok coach was also pleased with the set piece, which functioned well. “I think our mindset in the first half was probably not as accurate as the way we wanted to play, not like the Barbarians, but to keep putting pressure on their set-piece, and getting territory and to play from there.

“The most disappointing thing was the amount of possession we turned over, and it’s very detrimental against a Barbarians side who are fearless, who have nothing to lose and want to play with the ball.

“That is something that we’ll have to work hard on this week (for the clash against England). But having said that, it’s been a great game of rugby, and I think the spectators really got value for their money today,” according to Coetzee.

He said fullback Jesse Kriel will go for a scan to examine the niggles to his knee and ankle.