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Pressure on Boks to become greater
August 23, 2013, 08:56:57

Ex Supersport 

You would think that after such a one-sided win in the opening round of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship the pressure on the Springboks would have been lessened, but the opposite is in fact true.

Picking up five log points last week was what was needed and it represented a great start.

Nothing less than that will suffice again in Mendoza on Saturday though if they want to keep pace with the All Blacks in the quest for the title, and getting the four tries to go with the victory against Argentina will be much more of a challenge than last week’s whopping 73-13 scoreline would suggest.

Nick Mallett, talking on Boots and All on Thursday night, summed it up perfectly – the Latin temperament, which he is well acquainted with after coaching Italy and in France, can see a team that doesn’t look like it feels like playing one week turn into “a bunch of lunatics” the next.

Of course, considering how the yellow cards impacted on them at the FNB Stadium last week, lunacy might not be a good aim in itself for Argentina.

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer said it during the week – emotion and passion can take you only so far, you still have to play good rugby if you want to win at this level.

Nonetheless, we know what Mallett is saying, and you don’t necessarily have to have coached a French, Italian or Argentinian team to realise he is correct.

There have been countless times through history when teams from those countries have been poor, even in parts of games, and then been galvanised suddenly by even the smallest incident into an almost unbeatable unit.

A team from Argentina, the 1982 South American Jaguars that toured South Africa, recorded the distinction of affecting one of the most stunning turnarounds in the history of international rugby.

The Springboks owned them in the first test of a two-match series, winning by more than 50 points, and then lost to a Hugo Porta inspired performance the following week.

It has happened on different scales sometimes too. In 1993 Ian McIntosh’s Springboks were well up at half time in a match in Buenos Aires only to see the Pumas strike back with ferocity in the second half and only lose by a few points.

The same thing happened when Harry Viljoen took the Boks to Argentina for his first test in charge in November 2000, though admittedly his instruction to the players not to kick the ball did play a role there.

It wasn’t as comfortable as last week, but the Boks did win convincingly in the first game against the Pumas in 2012, in Cape Town, and then were fortunate to escape with a draw in Mendoza seven weeks later.

So Meyer has had experience of the unpredictability of Argentina, and of what it’s like to be a visiting team in that city.

“We know that the Pumas will get a lot of support and will have a passionate crowd backing them, and we know they will be playing on emotion and much better than last week. We realise we are starting from scratch in this game,” said Meyer at a press conference in Mendoza this week.

Given all of the above, Meyer would be right if he stressed to his players that the victory comes first, the bonus point is a secondary consideration.

But given the ease with which the All Blacks banked five points last week on Australian soil, where the Boks will do really well just to win when they play in Brisbane in two weeks from now, a four-try bonus point must be an imperative.

Of course, New Zealand could stumble in the early game on Saturday, which in their case probably means failing to get four tries rather than actually losing the match, an eventuality which seems highly unlikely if you consider they are playing last week’s vanquished on their own soil.

Either way though, this is the away game where the Boks need five!


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RE: Pressure on Boks to become greater
August 23, 2013, 09:01:37

 ARGENTINA v SOUTH AFRICA (Mendoza, 9:10pm)

If you watch the video of last year’s game, it becomes obvious what the Boks need to do to avoid the embarrassment of 12 months ago.

While the coaches took a lot of heat after that game for the game-plan, the reality was that they never had a chance to influence the match with their structures because they simply never won any ball.

Seldom has a Bok pack been as pitiful as it was that day, and it was a miracle they got out of the game with a share of the points.

So the mission this time has to be a simple one – the pack has to front. No, more than that, it must dominate like it did last week.

The Bok coach was chuffed at the way his backs finished off the opportunities presented in Johannesburg, but it was the big men who laid the foundation by simply denying the Pumas the foothold they needed in the set-pieces.(Please note muncher and polyboy etc)

But the Pumas will have been stung by last week, and they would have worked on their shortcomings. Don’t be too surprised if the forwards have managed to find their teeth in the last seven days.

However, the Bok team has a much better balance to it than when they last played in Argentina. Both Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw have been added subsequent to that game, and the way they play to the ball has made a big difference to the performance. It’s why a repeat of 12 months ago would be a major surprise.(Please note ou maaaikie)

The Pumas have made five changes, several of them forced by injury, while understandably the Boks have kept their changes to a minimum, with just the club-tied Fourie du Preez missing from the 23 that was so triumphant last time out.

The questions we should be asking:
1. Given the battles that lie ahead after this one, wouldn’t it be better for the Boks if the Pumas did stand up and gave them a real game?
2. Ancillary to the last one, what will happen on the day that an opposition team does stand up to the Bok pack? So far this year that is something that has only happened once – in the first half against Scotland. But Francois Louw was missing that day…
3. The newcomers to the Bok team have all done well, but all the games have been at home, and the last two on the Highveld. What happens now?


Argentina: Lucas Gonzalez-Amorosino, Gonzalo Comacho, Marcelo Bosch. Felipe Contepomi (capt), Horacia Aguila, Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo, Leonardo Senatore, Juan Maneul Leguizamon, Pablo Matera, Mariano Galarza, Julio Farias Cabello, Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Marcos Ayerza. 
Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Tomas Lavaninni (Our Thomas!!!!), 19 Benjamin Macome, 20 Tomás Cubelli, 21 Santiago Fernández, 22 Juan Imhoff

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (capt), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira 
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia) 


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RE: Pressure on Boks to become greater
August 23, 2013, 09:10:39

 I post all this in the vain hope my good friend ou maaaike will get a clearer picture. Hahahahahahahaha


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RE: Pressure on Boks to become greater
August 23, 2013, 09:39:14

Al this shouting and screaming do not help at all. We had a serous problem last year in Mendoza because our back row in that game was pitiful and Morne Steyn disintegrated - coupled to the standard rubbish dished out by Francois Steyn in tests last year.

I believe the key elements of tomorrows game would depend on the following:-

* Whether Morne Steyn disintegrated like he did last year;

* The loss of Fernandez Lobbe as a result of injury will make a difference - he on hisown neutralized the whole back row of the Springbok back row last year;

* Whether the Pumas can contain their disciplinary problems - which caused them to play a large part of the second half in the Soweto test with 14 players;

* Whether the Pumas can up their game and play for the full game like they did in the first 30 minutes of the Soweto test.

I believe that the Springboks will still win tomorrow - if they lose there will be serious questions asked - but I think the victory margin will be a fraction of what it was in the Soweto test.


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RE: Pressure on Boks to become greater
August 23, 2013, 09:58:49

 Ou maaaike les us reason together. Morne has had one bad patch withe the boot in his entire Bok career. He had been played into the ground and experienced a dip in form that cost us last years RC and a big win over the wee abs in Dunedin. Why you are expecting Morne to disintegegrate every game he plays is a mystery.

Last time round we had wee daniel in the oose trio. This year we have Louw the best 6 in world rugby and we also have Duane. Now this loose trio may not be ideal on the highveldt against the  netball playing abs but if you are going to war in Mendoza it's the right one.

Of course we dont expect the same margin of victory - the ARGIES ARE A TOP RUGBY NATION AND THEY HAVE OUR THOMAS ON THE BENCH!!!!

Speaking of young Thomas I do hope he is not corrupted by the kiwis with all their drugs and booze. I dont mention [removed] because theirs is very unconventional and can not be mentioned in good company by anybody but ou rooitwit!. Thomas had better chuck up his kiwi rugby plans as fast as he can get out of them and then come here and learn the real art of forward play.


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RE: Pressure on Boks to become greater
August 23, 2013, 10:32:31

We may succeed with our back row in Mendoza - but that will be our death certificate against both the All Blacks and the Wallabies - it just will not work at all.

As to Morne Steyn - nobody can be sure whether he will not fail again - like he did in the last three Super 15 games of the Bulls this year. I would watch him carefully in Mendoza if I was Meyer and if he fails replace him early. Morne's problem is not only linked to his goal kicking - he is also an expert in kicking balls aimlessly and that is one aspect of the game where things can go awry.

Thus far - other than the last three games in Super 15 - as well as to some degree in the June Scotland test to a slightly lesser extent - there were no games this year where Morne Steyn was really under pressure. Hence we cannot be sure what will happen if he is put under pressure. I am not saying he will not make the grade - he could theoretically still make the grade - but??????

As to our back row - it may work against the Pumas - but (like last year) will flop against both the Wallabies and the All Blacks. I said I think it may come off - because Fernandez Lobbe - one of the best loosies in world rugby - is not available for the game on Saturday - but against the Wallabies and the All Blacks we would be back to a situation where our loosies went AWOL during the tests.

As for Tomas - I have the same feeling about him rather playing CC in SA and not going to New Zealand - I think he is a very well-behaved and properly brought up youngster and he will not fall easily for the girls from a nation where good lookers are rare - whilst there is an abundance of real beauties in Argentina. .


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RE: Pressure on Boks to become greater
August 23, 2013, 10:35:11

Beeno1: normal sequence is great, greater, greatest. Boks are not back to even great yet mate, still in the re-building phase IMO


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RE: Pressure on Boks to become greater
August 23, 2013, 10:43:01


Must agree Just ... we first need to select a team that can take us to this level.


Sadly the current team falls a tad short of even the so called "great" ...


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RE: Pressure on Boks to become greater
August 23, 2013, 11:08:26

 Ou maaike who were our loosies in the dunedin test where the Bok pack were in control?

We are developing a great pack and only need to find a couple of great wings and we are  A for away. I cant wait for Du Toit to join Etzebeth next year. Man it will be ab munching season. Roast kiwi bird plucked and fried in garlic and exotic herbs.


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