Deans: I've never seen such carnage
Australia will be forced to fly in reinforcements for their trip to Argentina next week, after what coach Robbie Deans described as "carnage" in Pretoria.
The Wallabies, up against an inspired Springbok team fell well short of their goals in a 23-point (8-31) hammering at the hands of the Boks at Loftus Versfeld.
However, the already injury-depleted Wallabies had to finish the final eight minutes of the Test with just 14-men on the field, and with uncontested scrums, as the injury toll meant all of their substitutions had been used and hooker Tatafu Polota Nau could not be replaced.
The Wallabies finished the Test with Berrick Barnes (chest injury), Adam Ashley-Cooper (head-knock), Digby Ioane (knee concern), Radike Samo (shoulder injury) and Tatafu Polota Nau (shoulder concern) all on the bench.
Deans struggled to contain his disappointment in terms of the high injury count – having already lost three captains this season – James Horwill, David Pocock and Will Genia.
"No doubt about that … I have never seen anything like that in terms of carnage," Deans said in his post-match reaction.
"We were down to 13 men at one point and not being able to make that last replacement put us under the pump."
He spoke of the "pride" his team showed in continuing to fight.
"It could have blow out even more," he said of his team's efforts when they were down a man in the last 10 minutes.
"We were severely compromised in terms of the line-up, but they hung on."
Australia now head to Argentina, where they are likely to encounter a fired-up and very physical Argentina next Saturday and Deans said reinforcements may be called.
"We must regroup to get across to Argentina," the Wallaby mentor said, adding: "At first glance it looks like we will need some repairs [replacements] and that in itself will prove challenging, as it involves visas … which means we may not be able to get them till late in the week."
Captain Nathan Sharpe also spoke of the high injury count.
"We lost a few out there tonight," the Wallaby captain said, adding: "Credit to the Boks, they played well in the middle 40 [minutes] … the 20 [minutes] before half-time and the 20 [minutes] after half-time.
"From there we just gave them too many points."
Sharpe also spoke of the "character" they showed when the injuries started to mount.
"However, a team like South Africa, a very good team, were able to take advantage of that.
"We are looking forward to bouncing back, there is good resolve in this group – we will look to come back strongly and finish the tournament strongly against them."