Springbok coach Peter de Villiers revealed that his sympathies went out to skipper John Smit as he and his inexperienced team floundered in the Tri-Nations deep end in Sydney on Saturday.
De Villiers' inexperienced charges were exposed by a classy Wallabies team in their Tri-Nations opener and the Springbok mentor said that the person he felt the most for while the rugby lesson was being imparted on his team was the captain.
He told tvnz: "I felt sorry for John (Smit) at one stage. To be the captain is one thing, but to have some leaders around you to calm down the new guys was non-existent."
The Bok coach added that he hoped his team would be better off for the experience of having been dominated in almost every area of the game.
"I hope the lessons that they learned (included) the difference to play for your country at Test level and to play at Super 15 level is quite remarkable," he said.
De Villiers stood by his claim that injuries had forced him to field a team missing over 20 experienced players.
"(But) it's not by choice that we brought a lot of new guys here," he added.
De Villiers was also quick to praise the performance of the Wallabies as he tried to take the heat off his side's tepid performance.
"They were quite brilliant. The decisions they made were quite spot on. Some people will say soft tries, but I say the decisions they made on turnover ball were quite brilliant," said the Bok coach.
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