Rassie Erasmus offered no excuses for the Springboks’ disappointing 22-20 loss against Wales in Washington DC on Saturday.
Wales scored their third and decisive try in the 75th minute through reserve hooker Ryan Elias after a clearance kick by replacement Bok flyhalf Robert du Preez was charged down.
Earlier in the match, the Boks fought their way back from a 14-3 half-time deficit to lead 20-17 thanks to second-half tries by both debutant wings, Makazole Mapimpi and Travis Ismaiel, and penalty goals by Elton Jantjies and Du Preez.
‘We knew there would be risks involved by only coming over later in the week, but we’re not making any excuses – the Welsh showed more determination in the end to clinch the game,’ said Erasmus.
‘All their tries were scored as a result of kicking – a charged down kick and box kicks we failed to control – and also we committed some defensive errors. We had our chances to score, and overall I think it was the pressure, which they were able to put on us at the end, that won it for them.
‘The one positive for me is that there were quite a few new players who got caps today and now know what it’s like to play against a quality team like the Welsh, but it’s still a Test that we lost, and that hurt.
‘It’s never nice when you play your first Test and you lose, and we didn’t want that result, but we wanted to get all of the uncapped players on the field and start building towards the future. However, we still lost and that almost nullified the fact that we capped a lot of new players.’
Looking forward to the three-match series against England, which starts next Saturday in Johannesburg, Erasmus said: ‘We will have to step up against England. We know the pressure will be on us to win, just as they would also be under pressure to be successful following their recent results.’
Pieter-Steph du Toit, who captained the Springboks in the US capital, said that despite the negative outcome, the squad will ultimately benefit from the match against Wales.
‘We managed to work our way through a lot of detailed preparation so that it can also benefit us for the series against England.
‘Going into the change room at 14-3 down, we realised that the first half was not good enough and that we needed to step up after the break.’
Photo: Scott Taetsch/Gallo Images