South Africa might be one step further down a track Australia has just begun seriously embarking on, according to Springboks coach Allister Coetzee.
Saturday night’s draw in Perth ended their 2017 run of Test wins but it again showed a transformed Springboks side, far from that which managed just four wins in the entire 2016 season.
A positive Coetzee praised his team’s character after a 23-23 draw in Perth but said he wasn’t happy with the final result of the Wallabies match-up.
“I don’t think this Springboks side would ever be happy with a draw,” he said.
“We did enough but unfortunately I think the first half, just the discipline cost us a bit, conceded unnecessary penalties which gave them opportunity.
“We'll look at that and try to be more clinical.”
Coetzee said a united approach to conditioning across the Springboks and the South African Super Rugby franchises had ensured they would be ready in moments like the dying stages of the Perth nailbiter.
It’s an issue Wallabies coach Michael Cheika highlighted in June, with moves at the national level to
“Australia and South Africa have been in similar situations where there's no real collaboration and we started that last year. getting all the conditioners in one room and talk about how are we going to get the national team fit,” he said.
“Getting the national team two weeks before the first Test, what, how much conditioning can you then do?
“The players are spending 37 weeks with their franchises and 13-15 weeks with the springboks side and where should conditioning take place and happen?
“Obviously at the franchise and that is what we've started and it's not perfect yet but we're heading in the right direction, therefore we are conditioning.
“It is a much higher level and in Super Rugby we've got to make sure we send players back to Super Rugby in a better condition as well to be able to compete in playoffs.”
South Africa’s Super Rugby teams showed improvement this season, though the Super Rugby days of the Kings and the Cheetahs are over, a rise Coetzee attributed to this renwed focus.
The Springboks will have their toughest 2017 test when they arrive in New Zealand next week to take on the All Blacks, who withstood a challenge from Argentina on Saturday.
Coetzee said they hadn’t contemplated taking on the Kiwis until the Wallabies clash ended.
“We didn’t think about the All Black game when we still had to play the Wallabies,” he said.
“Now, it’s time to focus on the next one, which will be a hell of a battle and they’re still the best side in world rugby.
“Argentina showed to day that when you're accurate and you apply pressure in all the areas of the game, you can take them on.”