Boks pay for misses

DUBLIN - World and Tri-Nations champions South Africa deserved to lose against Six Nations champions Ireland on Saturday because they weren't clinical enough, admitted their captain John Smit.

DUBLIN - World and Tri-Nations champions South Africa deserved to lose against Six Nations champions Ireland on Saturday because they weren't clinical enough, admitted their captain John Smit.

South Africa turned round at the break 10-6 up, thanks to the only try of the match through Schalk Burger but three missed penalties by Morne Steyn cost them dearly.

Smit, who belied his reputation for being a sporting captain by leading his side off without the traditional applauding off of the Irish, highlighted Steyn's misses as being pivotal to the match's outcome.

"Missing penalties were crucial. Two in the first half near the break and then one afterwards, cost us dearly," said a glum looking Smit. "Those would have kept the scoreboard ticking over and it would have made it difficult for the Irish to come back at us as they did eventually."

But Smit and coach Peter de Villiers refused to use fatigue as an excuse. - Sapa-AFP

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