The South Africans face a mammoth task to turn things around after suffering back-to-back defeats against the Wallabies in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, and the team’s vice-captain and flyhalf admitted that the process will start with an honest review of their performance in Brisbane.
The Springboks conceded four tries and received two yellow cards in the match – with Faf de Klerk and Jasper Wiese being sent to the sin bin – in a performance Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber described as their worst since going down against Argentina in Mendoza in 2018.
Pollard attributed the defeat to a lack of accuracy in their execution and mistakes at crucial times, but he said it was important not to dwell on the disappointment for too long and instead focus their energy on turning the corner.
“It’s tough,” said Pollard.
“We are emotional and disappointed in ourselves, but we’ll have a look at the match see where we went wrong and what we can do better, and then we have to make plans for next week (where the Boks will face the All Blacks in Townsville).
“It was very disappointing, but a huge test awaits us next week and we have to get ourselves ready for that.”
Responding to how the Boks can achieve that, Pollard said: “We have to be very honest with ourselves in the review of the game and see where we can improve.
“But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves for too long. We must try to get over this quickly, so we’ll have a reset day on Sunday.
“There certainly won’t be a lack of motivation when we face the All Blacks, and in every Test for that matter. We know we are not good enough at the moment, but we’ll develop plans.
“The one thing I know about this team is when our backs are against the wall, we can come back strongly. We can’t say much more than that and we won’t make excuses, but we’ll come back next week and hopefully turn things around.”
Zoning in on their game in Brisbane, Pollard said: “Attacking wise I think it was our best performance this season in terms of finding space and getting the ball in space. We executed the plan well we just weren’t clinical enough.
“We also didn’t capitalise on the opportunities, and every time we got into their half or 22, we lost the ball. We didn’t handle the last passes and wide breakdowns well.”
He added: “There’s definitely not an attitude problem. If every guy misses one tackle, that is 23 missed tackles, and unfortunately, it happens, but it’s not our standard.”
Springbok replacement prop Vincent Koch was equally disappointed about the result and the performance and admitted that the entire team had let themselves down.
“I don’t think there is a lot of pressure to play off the bench,” said Koch.
“Our role is to bring more energy when the players who have played for 50 or 60 minutes comes off, and perhaps we didn’t get that right this time.”