Boks forward effort key to opening Rugby Championship win

2012-08-18 21:20

The Pumas have one of the best scrums in the world, behind the All Blacks, England and France.

It was a strength that was expertly dissected and rendered powerless by the Boks, whose scrum gets better with each outing.

Considering that they lost Bismarck du Plessis very early, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was impressed with how they nullified the Puma scrum threat.

“It was a bit of a surprise as Argentina has a great scrum, but I was very happy when Pat Cilliers came on. I thought Argentina did very well and I am happy with that facet of play,” Meyer said.

“Our set phases went very well and it was good to see a mauling try as they are renowned for their mauls and their ability to stop mauls. There were few other improvements but the scrum was definitely one of them.”

One aspect of play where the Boks were caught out a bit was the breakdowns, where Julio Cabello and Alvaro Galindo were a constant threat.

The Boks were hamstrung by the loss of the experienced Du Plessis, who Meyer thinks could be out for the rest of the year with what is suspected to be a serious knee injury.

The breakdown is one part of play where New Zealand and Australia often take the game away from the opposition, and Meyer is aware of that, saying that they needed to step up in that department.

“We definitely missed Bismarck, not just at ball protection, but also in the pack as we don’t have the most experienced pack around and he is a leader there. He is a good ball stealer and we missed that. We need to be more physical at the breakdown because they were all over us in that facet,” Meyer said.

Santiago Phelan, Argentina’s coach, was impressed with how his side played, considering that it was the first time they had played in the tournament.

His side’s discipline worried him as Steve Walsh penalised them consistently.

In that respect, he said they were their own worst enemy.

“Perhaps we conceded too many penalties. The balls that we lost were capitalised on by South Africa and they scored points. What was also difficult was that we played too much in our own half,” he said.

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