Coetzee – “It wasn’t a perfect performance”

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Springbok coach Allister Coetzee maintained a very measured approach when confronting the media following the Springbok’s 37-15 win over Argentina in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

Coetzee stressed that, while pleased with his team’s progress, Saturday’s performance was far from the finished article, and that there is still plenty for his Bok side to work on.

“We are very pleased with the win. It was definitely not a perfect performance, but to kick off the campaign with a win is very pleasing. A good start. The two-weeks in PE were fantastic, the players were great both on and off the field and we’re just really pleased to come away with the four-points.

“We are just going to keep building on our processes, and that for us is key. We have to keep scrumming well, keep getting our lineout percentages up, keep improving on our maul and our kicking game. We need to keep working on our execution and get it right.”

The hosts outscored their South American opponents four-tries to two, but needed to remain stoic in the early exchanges, so as to gradually wear down the visitors’ resilient defence.

“One should never underestimate this Argentinian side. People often make as if they are just the Jaguares [Super Rugby side], but they’re not. It took us some time to break them down, and find spaces in their defence. A lot of credit must go to our leadership and captain for staying patient and looking after the ball so well.”

The foundation for the Bok win was laid by the tight forwards, who utterly dominated their opposition from the get-go, and which afforded the likes of wingers Courtnall Skosan and Raymond Rhule the space required to set the game alight.

In particular, Coenie Oosthuizen’s Man of the Match performance kept his side on the front-foot throughout the contest. One would certainly not have blamed the 28-year-old for furnishing a smile or two – especially considering yesterday’s match was his first Test start since 2014. Instead, the 129kg tighthead, not unlike like his coach, remained impassive post-match, choosing to deflect attention from himself to the areas of the Bok game that still need developing.

“It was a team effort. The whole pack of forwards were happy with the work-rate, and all the time we’ve spent putting into scrummaging. From a scrumming perspective, we achieved what we wanted to achieve, but there’s still so much more that we can actually do right. We need to keep building; you’ve never achieved everything. But, for the first Test, I think we’re pretty happy.”

Coetzee singled out the vociferous Nelson Mandela Bay audience, highlighting how much his Bok squad enjoyed their time in the Eastern Cape.

“A lot of credit must go to supporters of Port Elizabeth. You could see how well supported we were today, and during our open sessions [in the week leading up to the Test match]there was a good vibe, which the players really enjoyed.”

The Boks will regroup early this week before departing for Salta on Wednesday, ahead of their second-round clash with Los Pumas at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena next Saturday.

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