Keo.co.za brought you the post-match presser live from Newlands as coach Kobus van der Merwe took responsibility for an appalling 80 minutes against the Highlanders.
KOBUS ON IMPLICATION OF LOSS
We’re really disappointed. We prepared well, wanted to put on a good showing. Just disappointed in our own performance. We’re not going to make any excuses, we’re not going to make any excuses. It obviously makes our road ahead very difficult.
KOBUS ON POSITIVES
Guys didn’t stop trying. Tried until the last minute, just didn’t happen.
KOBUS ON WHERE THE BUCK STOPS
The buck stops with me. I take full responsibility for the performance of the team. We’ve got to improve.
KOBUS ON TACTICS
In the first half, we played tactically well. We box kicked well, Rayno try was a result of seeing their winger hanging deep. When he was flat we box kicked well. We were hamstrung, however, by the errors in our own game. The handling errors really cost us. Adri dropped the ball with an open try line, and Schalk Brits was too flat when he threw that intercept pass. That really cost us.
KOBUS ON COUNTER-ATTACK INABILITY
We spoke about that. We need to get more guys back to support Greeffie. We’ve taken note of that.
DE WET BARRY ON HANDLING
I wouldn’t say we’re tense. I don’t want to make excuses, but both sides made a lot of errors. Individual mistakes were made, and the passing under pressure wasn’t there. Everyone must take collective responsibility.
KOBUS ON LINE-OUTS
Line-out performance tonight was unacceptable. Schalk wasn’t good tonight, and he accepted that. I don’t think any member of this team is going to make excuses when we don’t perform. All we can do is work hard and try and improve next week. It’s foolish to start panicking. We need to look at where we made the errors, and try to fix them.
KOBUS ON CHANGES
We’ll be looking at rotating one or two guys. I don’t think there’ll be a major panic in dropping players. We need to stick together as a team and back each other and hopefully it will turn.
KOBUS ON THE SUPPORT OF THE WP RUGBY UNION
I’ve said the buck stops with me. I’ve answered that. I’ve said before there’s only three guarantees in life: Taxes, dying and you’ve got to get quick ruck ball. And a fourth one is a coach will be fired sometime. We’re putting a lot of effort in, and we’ve got to put our hands up when we don’t perform.
KOBUS ON JEAN DE VILLIERS
We’re obviously very disappointed. He felt great on Wednesday, and on Friday he got up and felt really good. Friday afternoon he was 98%, and Greg Hechter told him he’s ready. He said to Greg he wouldn’t feel comfortable without accelerating at 100% and at 100% he said he felt something. We did consider playing him, but knowing that he’s not 100% with the possibility of tearing the groin, it would have been foolish. It was the right decision to pull him out.
KOBUS ON JOE VAN NIEKERK
Joe will be ready the week before the tour.
KOBUS ON EFFECT OF JEAN PULLING OUT
I don’t think it’s easy on anyone, but Gus is an experienced guy. It is tough for him to have slot in so late, but he should be fine.
KOBUS ON HURRICANES
I said to the boys now in the changeroom that it’s not going to get any easier. They’re top of the table and are full of All Black stars. The beautiful thing about this game is sometimes it only takes seven days for things to change.
KOBUS ON WP’S VODACOM CUP PERFORMANCE
We’re very disappointed in their performance. They have a coach who must take responsibility for them, and I would be out of place to comment on them.