Port Elizabeth - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee pronounced himself “satisfied” with his side’s 37-15 victory over Argentina in the opening game of their Rugby Championship match, but warned there was still a lot of work to do for the side.
The Boks overpowered the Pumas in a good second half performance to win rather easily in the end and record their fourth straight win of the year.
“I’m pleased, it’s a win, not a perfect performance but it was pleasing. It was a good start, we had a fantastic two weeks in Port Elizabeth and a lot of the credit must go to the supporters who did us proud.”
While Coetzee wouldn’t single out players, preferring to credit the entire pack, he did give credit to his forwards who won the scrum and breakdown battle against a side who are normally favoured in those areas.
“The pack played well, that is what test match rugby is all about. The pack dominated the setpiece and Coenie Oosthuizen scrummed exceptionally well. I also have to credit the impact off the bench, it was really great,” Coetzee added.
“Our mauling has come along really well as compared to last year and people underestimate Argentina, people look at the Jaguares and they write them off. It took us some time to break down their defence but a lot of credit must go to the captain for his leadership and for getting the side to look after the ball well. We played well but there were still a couple of opportunities we didn’t get or we didn’t take.”
Up 13-5 at the break, Coetzee’s message to the team was to stay patient and to continue to follow the game plan.
“Halftime we told them to stay patient, they had their wings up so we decided to change ourtactics a bit, to get the ball behind them and in trying so, one of the tries we conceded – through Jan (Serfontein) came through that. But they stuck to the message and trying to make space, they stayed patient and got into the right areas. It was great to see players have a go when they find space.”
The Boks will only travel to Salta on Wednesday, deciding to stay behind in Port Elizabeth and do the bulk of their training in the bay.
“We learnt lessons from last year and we changed our operational plan to stay behind in PE and travel on our off day. By then most of our work will be done, we don’t want to waste Monday and Tuesday travelling because those are your big training days. And there wont be many changes made by both sides, so we expect just as big a battle in Salta next week.”
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