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Adriaan Strauss vows to be 'ruthless with the truth' during South Africa review

Published 27/11/2016

South Africa skipper Adriaan Strauss has delivered an honest assessment of the Springboks' struggle this year
South Africa skipper Adriaan Strauss has delivered an honest assessment of the Springboks' struggle this year

Springboks skipper Adriaan Strauss has vowed to be "ruthless with the truth" when South Africa review their worst set of results in Test match history.

A 27-13 defeat against Wales was South Africa's record eighth loss of the calendar year, prompting a hard-hitting statement from South African Rugby Union president Mark Alexander for a second successive week following Italy's victory over the Springboks seven days earlier.

And Strauss, who has now called time on his international career, will not shirk responsibility if he is required to help piece the Springboks back together.

"I would like to contribute," Strauss said, after South Africa were undone by second-half tries from Wales hooker Ken Owens and flanker Justin Tipuric.

"I am not a sports administrator, I'm not a coach or at management level, I am a player, and I respect my position as a player - but I am the captain as well.

"No fingers can be pointed. We are all responsible for this, everyone up and down the ladder.

"It has been a massive challenge, I accepted that responsibility the day I said yes to the captaincy, and that day I became accountable for things that happened to the team.

"I am not here for a 'pity party'. I will reserve my opinions to a platform where I think it needs to be heard, and will do that openly and honestly.

"I will be ruthless with the truth, but I am not a guy for controversy where it will not help. When I get my opportunity at the right places, I will make honest contributions."

Wales claimed only a third win in 32 attempts against South Africa as a vastly-inexperienced Springboks side - their starting back division contained a combined total of just 40 caps - offered little.

Wales followed the likes of Italy, Argentina, Ireland, England, New Zealand and Australia this year in leaving South Africa a beaten and disjointed outfit, and it is hard to imagine how coach Allister Coetzee can survive any sweeping review that is now inevitable.

Alexander claims knee-jerk reactions must be resisted, but he said: "If tough decisions have to be made, we will not shy away from making them. Our number one priority is a turnaround strategy for the Springbok team, and that will be looked at immediately and decisively."

Coetzee's fate now rests with other people, and he knows there can be no hiding place following a year of monumental under-achievement.

"We need to get the standards up," Coetzee said. "The Springbok stands for excellence, and we need to make sure that whatever systems we put in place will give the players a platform to achieve excellence.

"I think we live in a country where results are important for the national team, and I am definitely not proud about the way the season has gone.

"But maybe in hindsight, if you look at this year - it's not ideal, way below what is expected of the Springbok team - it is hopefully the start of a greater time and place to get South African rugby back on track again.

"There are no excuses to soothe the pain that we've experienced this year."

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