The Boks take stock

2014-08-25 00:00

THE Springboks have taken stock and are looking on the bright side of what Springbok captain Jean de Villiers described as an “ugly win” over ­Argentina on Saturday night.

Two tries in the last 20 minutes and a very late penalty by Morne Steyn sealed a 33-31 win for the Boks in Salta but the honest truth is that South Africa were seriously tested by the home side.

However, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was happy that his side recorded a second win which has kept the Boks on top of the Rugby Championship ­table.

“You don’t want every week to say, ‘We showed character’ but we’ve played 10 away games and won nine and all of them were more or less the same,” Meyer said at the post-match press conference.

“The one thing that I am happy about is that the team know how to win. I think we were down and out at one stage and they came back,” he went on to say.

De Villiers praised Argentina’s performance and believes the team deserve more credit on the international scene.

“They are a team who are getting better and better and I think they are a much better team than their ranking at the moment,” he said.

“I’m happy again with the experience that we showed to pull it through but it could have so easily gone the other way,” De Villiers added.

The Boks looked in a bit of trouble at a stage and the Bok captain praised the performance of the Springbok replacements.

“I must give credit to our bench, the guys that came on. I thought they brought great energy and they made a big difference. They stepped it up and I think that might have been where the difference was,” he said.

“We don’t see the bench as replacements; we see it as impact players and they certainly did make an impact today,” De Villiers said.

A big concern was the Springbok scrum, which struggled against a strong Pumas outfit. Meyer praised Argentina for their performance at scrum time and intends to put in a lot of work in the next two weeks.

“I thought they scrummed brilliantly and that’s an aspect we need to work on. We didn’t get a lot of set pieces in their half and we need to adapt to the referee and scrum better,” he said.

A specific highlight is the continual character building in tight games which the Boks have clinched in recent times.

De Villiers believes it is important to get the win despite close finishes.

“You prefer the wins where you lead from the start and everything goes to plan and its beautiful rugby and you win it with six tries and that type of thing. But sometimes you just need to grind it out and win it at the end,” he said.

“That’s why I call it ugly, but it’s beautiful in the sense that we got the W next to our name,” De Villiers added.

The Boks now have a week’s break before they play Australia in Perth on September 6.

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