Revenge time for the Boks

2015-08-13 06:00
PHOTO: gallo images
Patrick Lambie during the Rugby Championship Test match against Argentina at King’s Park on Saturday.

PHOTO: gallo images Patrick Lambie during the Rugby Championship Test match against Argentina at King’s Park on Saturday.

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REVENGE is said to be a dish best served cold, but the Springboks are welcoming the opportunity to bounce back immediately from their humbling weekend loss at King’s Park by taking on the Pumas in Buenos Aires on Saturday night.

The unexpected 37-25 defeat has apparently caused coach Heyneke Meyer to change his plans as he looks to lift the team, and the country, by breaking a depressing run of four successive defeats. Meyer had initially wanted to take his fringe players to Buenos Aires, allowing his shadow Test team to remain behind in Durban and work on their conditioning ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

While the squad to travel to Buenos Aires will only be named by Meyer today, two members of his coaching staff, Pieter de Villiers and John McFarland, have this week suggested that many of the players who surrendered so tamely in Durban will have the opportunity to exact their revenge in Buenos Aires.

“It’s not a performance we were proud of and normally in international rugby you have to wait months before you can put it right,” McFarland said. “The great thing for us is that we get to go to Argentina on Saturday and we’ve got a chance to put it right.

“We are obviously hurting after the loss. No one likes to lose like that and the performance was unacceptable. There were some harsh words yesterday as we started out the build-up week for Buenos Aires. There were harsh words between the players, there were harsh words from the coaching staff. From a playing point of view it was made clear what happened was unacceptable, and all round there were a lot of harsh words said.”

Somehow McFarland managed to even salvage a silver lining from the weekend’s gloom.

“There were defensive individual errors in the first half, and we all know we were flat and off the pace. We just weren’t there,” he said.

“But I felt the guys did respond well in the second. We didn’t come back to win the game, but we did win the second half and I thought we were getting it right in most areas of our game in that period.

“There was a massive difference in attitude from first half to second. The players did respond well to the harsh words that were said at half time.”

The Springbok defensive coach said he took responsibility for the mistakes the Boks had made in allowing the Pumas to score three tries.

“It’s the first time it’s happened to us in a long time so credit to the Pumas’ coaching staff,” he said.

McFarland said the problems would be solved before the RWC.

“Rather they happened now than at the World Cup,” he added. “We will fix those areas where we fell down, and we get a chance to set the record straight on Saturday.”

The news from the Pumas camp is that coach Daniel Hourcade has added six of his bigger name players to the squad who travelled to South Africa. Centre De la Fuente is out with a rib injury. The six players who are back after missing the Durban visit are fullback Santiago Cordero, centre Matias Moroni, flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and loose forwards Javier Ortega Desio, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Facundo Isa.

“While we are thrilled at our famous victory in Durban, the focus has already switched to the rematch,” flank Pablo Matera said before the squad left for Buenos Aires.

“It is going to be extremely tough in Buenos Aires because the Springboks are hurting and they will throw everything at us.”

Matera said that self-belief had been behind the win.

“We were convinced that we would win.”

South Africa have dropped three places on the official international rankings to fifth while Argentina remained eighth. The Buenos Aires Test will be the last for Argentina and South Africa before the September 18 kick-off of the Rugby World Cup in England.

South Africa are in Pool B with Japan, Samoa, Scotland and the United States and Argentina are in Pool C with title-holders New Zealand, Georgia, Namibia and Tonga.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 9.40 pm (SA time) and New Zealander Glen Jackson is the referee. - Supplied

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