The Springboks played unevenly (and sometimes less so) at the outset of the Rugby Championships, splitting their first two matches against Argentina.
Aphiwe Dyantyi and Makazole Mapimpi tallied two tries apiece to lead the Boks to a 34-21 victory over the Pumas on Aug. 18 at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban, but the return match, a week later in Argentina, was a different story. The Argentines rode a 17-point performance from Nicholas Sanchez to a 32-19 victory in Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, in Mendoza.
The latter showing left Rugby Director Rassie Erasmus fuming.
“It was embarrassing and not the kind of performance you expect to see from the Springboks,” he told sapeople.com. “We made only one change to the starting team from last week, when we dominated them. We have to point the fingers to ourselves, firstly as coaches and then as players, and we will have to fix it.”
And they will have to do so quickly, considering they are about to step up in class. The Boks visit Australia for a Sept. 8 game in Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, then face lordly New Zealand a week later in Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
New Zealand pounded Australia in its first two matches of the tournament.
“They will be determined to bounce back and will no doubt be in our faces, so we need to prepare with the same intensity that we can expect from them on Saturday,” assistant coach Matt Proudfoot told channelnewsasia.com. “We are in fact two teams looking to bounce back, so I think this game is going to be crucial for both sides, to see how each one responds.
“It will be a tight game played on the advantage line by both sides who will be looking to get on the front foot.”