x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

No rift in team, say Springboks

South African rugby has played downs reports of a rift in the team after the embattled Springboks suffered a third successive loss over the weekend.

South African rugby has played downs reports of a rift in the team after the embattled Springboks suffered a third successive loss over the weekend. Peter de Villiers' side were comfortably beaten 30-13 by Australia and are now bottom of the Tri Nations table without even a bonus point to show for their efforts. The defeat for the defending champions in Brisbane followed back-to-back losses to New Zealand on the opening two weekends of competition.

It has left plenty of questions for the coach to answer ahead of their next game on August 21, but for now there is mounting speculation of a camp in disarray, something the South African Rugby Union (SARU) have denied. "I've been with the Springboks for almost three weeks now and can categorically state there is no rift in the management team," Andy Marinos, the national team manager, said. "In my various discussions with Bok coach Peter de Villiers, his assistant coaches Dick Muir and Gary Gold, as well as senior team members John Smit and Victor Matfield, it's never once come up that there are problems in the camp.

"For three weeks in a row we have not played well and made it harder for ourselves by playing with only 14 players on the field at crucial times during the games, away from home." De Villiers will also meet his employers later this week for a report back on the tour. SARU are reportedly satisfied with the team, but are becoming increasing irritated by unnecessary remarks being made by the coach to the media. Last week the group sent out a statement after De Villiers suggested referees had favoured the All Blacks.

* PA