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Precise Pumas embarrass Boks

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, The Rugby Championship on 8 Aug 2015 at 18:52
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

Argentina outplayed, outclassed and completely out-wit the Springboks in Durban tonight, but the word that best describes the action is embarrassed. By doing the basics right and playing with some pride, the Pumas beat a hapless and heartless Springbok outfit 37 – 25.

Argentina started like a house on fire, silencing an expectant Kings Park crowd with a try under the poles in the opening minutes. That try was followed up with a second minutes later, the Pumas showing hunger and drive to win, proving the first try was no fluke.

Lood de Jager finally got the Boks into the match, scoring a driving try a quarter of the way into the match, but Argentina were not done yet, scoring a third and taking a 14 point lead into the half time break.

The half time talks done, Argentina came out and scored a fourth try, leading the Springboks by 21 points at one stage, before Willie le Roux ran the length of the field to score a great individual try. Habana scored a late try to reduce the margin of defeat to only 12 points. The biggest margin of defeat for the Boks in the Rugby Championship this year.

It was a difficult match to watch, the Boks battled in the scrums, so much so that Vincent Koch was replaced at half time in a hope that Marcel van der Merwe would do better, with little success. The front row was completely bamboozled by an experienced Argentine front row.

Apart from the scrums, where they were completely outplayed, it was the basics which let the Springboks down most. Simple rugby principles such as catching a ball, passing the ball backwards and making tackles were lacking throughout. I am not going to attack individual players for this aspect, I feel the coaching staff should take some flack for this. As a team, comparing the play to the earlier match between Australia and New Zealand, it leaves a lot to the imagination. Surely the players should be taught to not pass the ball in the event that the receiving player is in front. Rather take the contact than losing the possession by way of a scrum.

Where I will mention individuals, is when it comes to flyhalf Handre Pollard. He could do absolutely nothing right on the night. He was struggling in general play, not able to make a decent pass or kick from hand. Basics such as taking a kick off went wrong as first he couldn’t get the ball 10m, and then later kicking it out on the full. When the ball had to be kicked out from a penalty, he couldn’t manage that either.

Surely if Vincent Koch can be taken off at half time for struggling in the scrums, how can it be that Pollard remained on the field until the 63rd minute, leaving replacement flyhalf Pat Lambie with an 18 point deficit and needing an absolute miracle to salvage anything from the match.

I will not place this loss squarely on Pollard’s shoulders, not at all, but somewhere responsibility should be taken for ending fourth out of four teams in the Rugby Championship. Pollard did not pick himself to start this match, and could not replace himself when he was struggling. It comes down to a coach who cannot adapt to what is happening on the field of play. It was obvious that Lambie was planned to get on 15 minutes, and no matter the situation, that was not going to change.

The referee on the night, Mr Romain Poite, did not exactly cover himself in glory. His instruction to Jean de Villiers to talk to the team and then call time on for the third Argentina try, was somewhat of an iffy call, and in the second half he completely got it wrong when Cobus Reinach scored a try from a quick tap. You can say that those tries could have saved the Boks’ blushes, but they certainly did not deserve to win this match.

It is certainly back to the drawing board for the Springboks with only one match remaining before the World Cup kicks off.


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