South Africa ‘A’ completed their two-match tour on a disappointing note on Thursday night as they went down 26-18 against Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate, with head coach Mzwandile Stick saying they can only blame themselves for the defeat.
Bristol held a 13-6 lead going into the break, and despite determined attempts to bounce back, the SA ‘A’ side were forced to settle for the defeat, which means they will return to South Africa without a win following last week’s 28-14 reverse against Munster in Cork.
“We only have ourselves to blame,” said Stick.
“We started well, and we were in control, but then we allowed them back in the game. In the beginning our set pieces were good and we played a nice territorial game. But we ended up playing too much rugby in our half and there were some poor errors from our side.”
Stick added: “There were times we got into their 22, but then we panicked, and tried to force things, and I’m not sure why that happened. Hopefully the youngsters will learn from the mistakes. Despite this, they have bright careers ahead of them.”
Stick said the most disappointing aspect of the tour is that they selected a talented group of payers, which included a good mix of youth and experience, but they were unable to play according to the standards they set for themselves.
SA ‘A’ captain Thomas du Toit was equally dejected: “The result was very disappointing for us because we take a lot of pride in the way we play. We made a lot of unforced errors and individual mistakes, and that cost the team.
“That said, the match could certainly have turned out a differently if we had cut out some of the individual errors. Like any game there were positives and negatives we can take from it.”
Asked what he would do differently if they had another SA ‘A’ tour in future, Stick said: “If we have a similar tour to this again, perhaps we need to have a one-week camp to implement a few things before we leave because we only had one or two training session before the first game and three before the second game.”
The team will return to South Africa, while Stick and a few players are expected to remain behind in the UK to join the Springboks ahead of their Test against England next weekend at Twickenham.