Durban - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus was not happy with his side’s overall performance in their 34-21 win over Argentina at Kings Park on Saturday night.
The Boks endured a frustrating first half that saw them lose lineouts in promising positions while flyhalf Handre Pollard has a poor day with the boot, and with Argentina 14-10 at the break it looked like an upset could be on the cards.
Four tries in a much-improved second half ultimately got the job done for the Boks in the end, but Erasmus knows that the performance was nowhere near as good as it could have been.
There were obvious positives - Eben Etzebeth getting through 80 minutes on his return from injury and the performances of Aphiwe Dyantyi and Makazole Mapimpi stand out - but South Africa simply didn’t gel for most of the first half and some of the second.
“The first 25 or 30 minutes in the second half was probably the only decent rugby we played,” Erasmus said after the match.
“We always knew with Francois Louw and Faf de Klerk only having a pre-season and Eben (Etzebeth) coming back ... I was not expecting a fluent display but it was worse than I thought it would be in the first half.
“We knew that Eben was fit, but I don’t think anyone expected a performance like that.
“I think we got dragged into a slow pace between set plays and we struggled to switch it on again when the ball was actually in play. Luckily Siya (Kolisi) and the boys fixed it and we were much better after half time.”
Despite not being at their best in the contest, the Boks were dominant throughout and that had a lot to do with a massive performance from the pack where Etzebeth, Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Malcolm Marx and Tendai Mtawarira shone.
“There were a few lineouts that were crucial that we lost,” Erasmus said.
“There some technical errors but Eben, Pieter-Steph, Flo and Siya were really good.
“With a new loose trio combination it is always tough to just click. Overall it was a dominant performance but I wouldn’t say it was a crisp performance.
“I know the Pumas are fuming and they’ll want to get us back when we go there.”
The Boks leave for Argentina with a squad of 28 players on Sunday, and Erasmus confirmed that there would be a number of new faces getting a chance in Salta.