Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus expressed satisfaction at his side’s performance in Saturday’s 34-21 win against Argentina in Durban but stressed that they did remain a work in progress.
Despite a convincing victory at Jonsson Kings Park in their Rugby Championship opener, Erasmus highlighted overeagerness at the breakdown as an area that still requires improvement.
“[Argentina] fight hard at the breakdown and I think that at times we were awesome [in that department]. Sometimes we were so aggressive that we cleaned passed the ball and it was exposed.
“It was definitely not a lack of body height and aggression. We almost cleaned too hard. Faf [de Klerk]maybe wasn’t always there as quickly as he could have been, so there are little technical changes at the breakdown we can make to improve.”
Erasmus was pleased with the showing of his forward pack; especially considering the fact that many of them had not previously played together. Eben Etzebeth, who has not played a professional game since injuring his shoulder against Wales in Cardiff in December, particularly excelled.
“There were some technical and tactical errors, but I must say that Eben, Pieter-Steph [du Toit]and Francois Louw [particularly stood out]. For a guy that hasn’t played for so long, it just shows how fit Eben is and how hard he’s worked. We were quite confident he would come through the game but the way he played surprised all of us.
“Overall, I think it was a dominant performance, maybe not the most perfect, but I know the Pumas will be fuming to get back at us when we go and play there. It’s going to be a hell of a battle.”
South Africa conceded as many as six penalties despite dominating for large periods in the first Test. Bok skipper Siya Kolisi echoed his coach’s words while addressing the situation ahead of this weekend’s rematch at the Estadio Malvinas in Mendoza.
“The biggest thing from us players that we weren’t happy with, that we were talking about before the game, was our discipline and execution. We had a couple of opportunities in their 22 and we couldn’t execute. For us now we will recover and prepare ourselves for next week.”
Bok touring squad:
Forwards: Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi (all Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath), Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe (both Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Franco Mostert (Gloucester), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), RG Snyman (Bulls), Akker van der Merwe (Sharks), Marco van Staden (Bulls), Warren Whiteley (Lions)
Backs: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks), Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions), Andre Esterhuizen (Sharks), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Willie le Roux (Wasps), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), Lionel Mapoe (Lions), Embrose Papier, Handré Pollard, Ivan van Zyl (all Bulls), Damian Willemse (Stormers).