In the South African Rugby Wrap Edition Two, we take a look at the Springboks versus Argentina Rugby Championship game and the weekend’s Currie Cup action.
South African Rugby Wrap Edition Two
The Rugby Championship
Argentina 26 South Africa 24
Argentina – Tries: Joaquin Tuculet and Manuel Leguizamon; Conversions: Nicholas Sanchez and Juan Martin Hernandez; Penalties: Nicholas Sanchez 2, Juan-Martin Hernandez and Santiago Iglesias Gonzalez
South Africa – Tries: Bryan Habana and Pieter-Steph du Toit; Conversion: Johan Goosen; Penalties: Elton Jantjies 2, Morne Steyn 2.
Los Pumas provided the result that most Springbok fans feared and many were secretly expecting. There were many who were concerned about Alister Coetzee’s appointment as Springbok coach. The confusion on the field and in the coach’s box that was apparent during this game looked like a remake of the Genesis song, Land of Confusion.
The Springboks had their fair share of possession, but were mostly inept in using it and were very predictable in their backline play. We cannot fathom exactly how Coetzee plans to deliver on his promise of a more expansive style of play when he closed the game out with Morne Steyn and Damian de Allende in the 10/12 axis. Johan Goosen at fullback is now starting to look very experimental rather than an inspired choice.
Defensively, the Springboks struggled to contain the Argentinians when they pushed numbers into the wide channel, with the Springboks having to scramble to cut down far too many attacks out wide. At the breakdown, the Argentinians were also dominant for the bulk of the game. The current Springbok loose trio has been dominated five games out of five in 2016 and Coetzee has to reconsider his selections, starting at openside flank.
Tendai Mtawarira is looking well past his sell by date and on the tighthead the Springboks are sorely missing Frans Malherbe and Julian Redelinghuys. Scrums have regressed significantly and have become very erratic.
One of Coetzee’s key decisions of the next week is what to do about the missing two. Adriaan Strauss has become mostly invisible since being given the captaincy. Leading by example wold not describe Strauss right now. Inspirational would not cut it either and he seems to have become very conservative, if not too comfortable, since taking over at the helm.
Unfortunately, a lick of paint will not cover up the cracks in this Springbok setup. Selecting players who are out of form or not suited to the style of play Coetzee claims he wants to nurture points towards mass confusion and Springbok supporters have a right to be concerned right now. If this is the quality that is supposed to defend South African honour against the All Blacks in Christchurch in September, they would do better to send a doctor’s note and not pitch.
Golden Lions 60 Cavaliers 12
Golden Lions: Tries (9): Selom Gavor; Anthony Volmink; Dillon Smit; Jacques Nel; Victor Sekekete; Howard Mnisi ; JW Bell; Dylon Smith. Ruan Ackermann. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (6) Penalties: Marnitz Boshoff (1)
Cavaliers: Tries (2): Joubert Horn; Wayne Wilschut. Conversions: Theuns Kotze (1)
The Lions put their loss to the Griquas last weekend behind them with a comprehensive win over the visiting Cavaliers. This was based on a dominant pack and their usual high tempo attacking game. The Cavaliers made a staggering 206 tackles, missing 32. The Lions simply played too much rugby for them to deal with. The Lions made 185 passes and ran 847 meters with the ball in hand and are very much back on form.
The Lions will face the Bulls at Loftus Versveld next weekend and the Cavaliers will host the Pumas.
Pumas 35 Griquas 41
Pumas – Tries: JP Lewis, Jannie Stander, Emile Temperman, Frankie Herne; Conversions: Francois Brummer (3); Penalties: Brummer (3)
Griquas – Tries: Rudi van Rooyen (2), Alshaun Bock, Wendal Wehr; Conversions: Clinton Swart (3); Penalties: Swart (5)
The Griquas outlasted their hosts the Pumas in a see-saw matchup in Mbombela (Nelspruit). They can thank the boot of inside centre Clinton Swart, who contributed 21 points off the tee. While not of the highest quality, this matchup was certainly entertaining with numerous lead changes.
The Griquas will now face the EP Kings on Wednesday to make up the missed game in round one and their next match will be a home matchup against the Cavaliers in Kimberley on the 8th of September. They should start as favourites as they are on a winning streak and the Kings are facing three games in seven days and will have to rotate their squad. The Pumas are off to visit the same Cavaliers team next weekend.
Kings 6 Western Province 36
EP Kings – Penalties: Kobus Marais (2)
Western Province – Tries: Leolin Zas, Huw Jones (3), Sikhumbuszo Notshe, Jano Vermaak; Conversions: Brandon Thomson (3)
Western Province ran out to an early 12 to 3 lead before the Kings clawed their way back into the game and were competitive for the middle forty minutes of the game. The Kings discipline was also an issue and playing twenty minutes of the game down to fourteen players due to yellow cards against quality opposition is always going to be a challenge.
In the last twenty minutes, Western Province’s superior quality, fitness and bench strength shone through. Huw Jones’ finishing ability also shone through, securing a hat trick of tries for the Scottish International.
Western Province face a challenging match up against the log leading Sharks next weekend in Cape Town. The Kings are in the middle of a horror week as this was their first game of three within seven days. On Wednesday they face the Griquas in Kimberley and then are off to test their mettle against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Sharks 26 Blue Bulls 19
Sharks:Tries: Ruan Botha, Curwin Bosch Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2) Penalties: Curwin Bosch (3) Drop Goal: Curwin Bosch
Blue Bulls: Try: Jamba Ulengo Conversion: Tian Schoeman Penalties: Tian Schoeman (4)
The Sharks had to hold off a determined onslaught from the Bulls at the end to secure the victory after the Bulls had grabbed an early lead through Jamba Ulengo. Young Sharks fullback Curwin Bosch contributed 21 points, once again underlining his undoubted promise.
The Bulls will rue handling errors at inopportune times but were also kicked out of the game, with the Sharks opting to play very little rugby in their own half. Another astonishing statistic is that the Bulls won 16 lineouts on their own throw as opposed to the three from the Sharks. Neither side lost a lineout on their own throw and it is evident that the Sharks were forcing the Bulls to play from deep.
Next weekend, the Bulls host the Lions and the Sharks are off to Cape Town to face Western Province.