Boks captain: 'We have lost against ourselves so many times'
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) Retiring Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss suggested they will start beating other teams when they stop beating themselves.
Strauss was painfully honest about the team's failings and motivation on Friday, a day before South Africa finishes a dismal international rugby season against Wales in Cardiff.
The team took responsibility for the seven losses, the most since 2006; they weren't playing to save Allister Coetzee's job as coach; and Strauss said he wasn't feeling extra motivated because it was his international swansong.
Asked who he felt was the biggest threat in the Wales side, Strauss said, ''Where we are at the moment, we just need to focus on what we want to do because we have lost against ourselves so many times this year.
''Picking out individuals who are playing or not playing, or the conditions, that is not going to help us. We need to be efficient at the breakdown, we need to play constructive rugby and get into the right areas, and then we need to attack, and attack with intent.''
He said the team had only itself to blame for the results, and only the team could turn its fortunes around.
''We had a bad loss last week (against Italy for the first time) and we have dealt with it is a team,'' he said. ''We knew immediately what that defeat meant to the supporters back home. Right now, our focus is on this Welsh game. One win won't make the year a success. We know that. But we want to control what we can control, and at least end on a strong note.''
This was Coetzee's first season in charge of the Boks, and he passed the captaincy to Strauss, a former Cheetahs and Bulls skipper, for the first time knowing this was the hooker's last year. But Strauss, a devoted team man, said their motivation was bigger than Coetzee.
''We are playing for the jersey,'' he said. ''When we grow up wanting to be a Bok it is about so much, it is a lot more than just one cause. We know how many people are disappointed, what our performances mean to our supporters. We play for the people back home, we play for the person sitting next to you, we play for the coach, we play for everyone who wants us to win and gets disappointed when we lose.
''We know we let people down this year and one win won't set everything right, but it is about what we can control. It is that we disappoint people back home and the need to set that right that drives us. South Africans expect more from us and we expect more from ourselves.''
Strauss said he would reveal his ideas on what must change after the match. He said it hadn't kicked in yet that this was going to be his 66th and last cap. His only thought was on beating Wales, to return home with something positive a from tour featuring losses to England and Italy and a comeback draw with the Barbarians.
''We have lost too many test matches this year, lost games we should not have lost, and have not played the way we wanted to, or to the standard we wanted to,'' he said.