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RugbyDump RugbyDump
Sunday Aug 24, 2014

Springboks survive Salta scare after excellent Argentina performance

Springboks survive Salta scare after excellent Argentina performance
17
Comments

Argentina came within two points of recording their first ever victory over South Africa, but couldn’t quite close out a game that they dominated for the most part. It took some substitutions and renewed vigour for the Boks to claim a tense 33-31 victory in Salta.

Everything went right for the home side for about 60 minutes of the game, including a mammoth scrum perforance, before the visiting Springboks found some form and claimed the win, keeping them top of the Rugby Championship table after two rounds. 

Going into the match Argentina were ranked a quite hard to believe 12th in the world. A win against the 2nd ranked Springboks would have helped to improve on that significantly.

“I’ve said it before, but I really think Argentina is a much better team than what their world-ranking shows, and they showed it again today,” said captain Jean De Villiers after the match. “We’re happy that we could pull it through, but it could’ve gone either way.”

The Springboks led 16-13 at halftime thanks to a Bryan Habana opportunistic try, but it wasn’t really a reflection of what went on in the first half. Later in the game, with 20 minutes to go, Argentina led 28-16 with history beckoning, before the visitors went up a gear thanks to a few replacements.

A late penalty from Morne Steyn, on for young Handre Pollard, gave them the lead and the win.

“All credit to Argentina – they’ve been together for a month and you could see that today as they played some great rugby,” said Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, who praised his sides ability to get out of a tricky situation.

“We don’t want to say every week that we’ve shown great character, but we’ve now won nine out of our last 10 away games and I think the guys have shown that they know how to win. At one stage, we were down and out and the team came back.

“We know there are a lot of areas we have to work on, but we’re still in this competition.”

South Africa top the Rugby Championship on eight points from two games, while New Zealand are in second place with seven, following their big win over Australia. The next round of matches takes place in two week’s time, with Australia hosting South Africa, and New Zealand hosting Argentina.

Better quality highlights will replace these when possible

17 Comments

  • drg
    12:17 AM 29/08/2014

    I don't see anyone criticising the Argies? Nobody expected Argentina to come onto the big stage and win all their games...

    Reply
  • drg
    7:03 PM 28/08/2014

    Seems vastly narrow minded from the powers that be. Probably one of those things that will fix itself through time, but I can imagine it's frustrating as an open eyed fan! One thing the rest of the world might actually hope for, is that the Argentines DON'T get their rugby in order... I mean they've shown the power they possess.. At the moment it isn't translating into straight wins, but they're damn close against some of the toughest oppositions out there... They're doing all of this with half their players up in the NH clubs, the rest are elsewhere somewhere... Could be quite scary if they actually got on the same regimes as some of the 'big' teams.

    Reply
  • rich_w
    10:03 AM 28/08/2014

    So gutted Argentina lost that one! They played great, and the last time I saw an SA scrum blown away like that was... never! One thing is for sure, when ARG finally win, it is going to go off, and we're all going to want to be at that party.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    4:20 PM 26/08/2014

    Katman covered most of the reasons, the other way of thinking about it is that Dan Carter is the gold standard for fly-half, and that's the type of player Meyer is trying to find. Ironically, Morne Steyn got his inital break at the Bulls because he was a more attacking 10 than Deryck Hougaard. He played nearer the gain-line, and was better at releasing outside backs. And he was always a great kicker. Over time, he became a more conventional Bok flyhalf - still a good player, but more conservative than the ideal. In 2012, his kicking suddenly went off, and his form generally suffered. Without his boot functioning, there was no other reason to select him. He then signed to play in France, and we all thought he was done. We also thought Johan Goosen might then be the man. But he's suffered horribly with injury (and he now is in France too), Morne has since rediscovered his form, and no other player has really come through (though to be fair to Pat Lambie, he's never let the team down when he's played at 10). Anyway, long story short, Meyer is hoping Handre Pollard might be the complete 10. A guy who can light it up in the right circumstances. It's a big ask, having both the skill-set and the judgement to put it all to use...

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    2:11 PM 26/08/2014

    Nature vs Nurture. Nature says go for the gap, Nurture says bang it into touch. Coach says clear the lines or you're dropped. It depends who runs the line, there is a line between playing "what is in front of you" and sticking to the game plan. Top tier teams are there because of ruthless efficiency with their game plan, hence the selections of players like Wilkinson, Morne Steyn, Owen Farrell, Andy Goode etc. They can Win Ugly, and Win Boring. The non SANZAR and top tier euro teams rely on flashes of genius and sparks to break deadlock, and to compensate for the lower standard of BATTLESTATIONS rugby. SA can rumble 3 phases of 20 stone forwards, and have a 60m boot behind it. Argentina rocked because Hernandez played 10 like no other fly half in the World Cup. If Boring Battlestations rugby isn't your game plan, you focus on changing the game and 'flicking switches'. They may not have had the set piece efficiency back in 07, but the Banana kick scared the life out of many opponents. It goes back to the 7/10s who occasionally play 11/10 compared to the consistent 9s who might have an off day, and don't have the box of tricks to switch things up. Hernandez is a magician, Sanchez is a ball player. SA have a big box of 'tricks', but no style. Thats the difference between Dynamo and David Copperfield. Copperfield has vegas, millions of dollars and a reputation to please crowds, but Dynamo will leave you awe struck on a street corner.

    Reply
  • katman
    8:19 AM 26/08/2014

    Morne Steyn is a safe flyhalf. His kicking stats are very good, he kicks well out of hand, he's reasonably solid on defence and he has plenty of experience. He's even scored a few decent tries by creating line breaks. But the problem is, he doesn't excite. He doesn't spark any crazy stuff in the backline. You pretty much know what the backline's going to do the minute the ball passes through his hands. He mostly stands deep, giving him more time on the ball, but also signposting every move to the defence. The biggest criticism of the Bok game plan is always the predictability and the lack of spontaneous play in the backline. This won't change unless we have a flyhalf who is 1.) able; 2.) willing and 3.) allowed to try off-the-script things and create opportunities. A guy like Pollard has shown this over and over again for the Junior Boks, which is why so many people put faith in him to do so for the senior team. Johan Goosen did the same when he was 19 and 20 years old. Unfortunately the problem might not be the players, but the mentality of the senior Bok team. In other words, the most creative flyhalfs are stifled and pressured into playing a safe, low-risk game plan because there is a culture of fear of losing. Eventually they all become Morne Steyns or Derick Hougaards or Braam van Straatens or Naas Bothas.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    3:54 PM 25/08/2014

    I agreed with the decision to stick with Pollard for now, no problems with him being tested in this tournament, but there's still a decision to be made if he'll be ready for the next world cup. I'm sceptical though how much Goosen is in the frame, think it would be a choice of Morne or Lambie if Pollard isn't ready. I think with Ruan, because of his versatility, they like him on the bench, and so he becomes almost by default the back-up scrumhalf. But Kockott has been very good for Castres, and any of Vermaak or Sarel Pretorius or Mcleod might be better than Ruan. Hougaard isn't the answer, but like you, I don't think Ruan is either. He had one good game for the Bokke last year, but that was the exception. I think Dr Jannie gets the tighthead jersey because there's sense in keeping the Sharks front row together. But no question, we need to be looking for a better scrummager there, and I have no idea who that might be.

    Reply
  • katman
    3:32 PM 25/08/2014

    I actually agree with his decision to stick with Pollard. Flyhalf is a position where you need to cultivate the necessary BMT - a bit like an opening batsman - and no one really hits the ground running. I think between Pollard and Goosen we could have had the no. 10 jersey sewn up for the next 10 years. Ruan Pienaar is the selection that baffles me most. He had one great season for Ulster, but has never looked the part for the Boks. I know it's not a popular suggestion (and I've never been the biggest fan in the past) but on pure form, I wish Meyer would look to Rory Kockott right now. At lock, I think Etzebeth just needs another game or two. He's been out for a long time. The no.5 jersey will eventually belong to Peter-Steph du Toit, and until he's back, we'll have to use Matfield and the babyface Cheetah. And then we have tighthead prop. And here I really don't have a suggestion. The last tough scrummager we (almost) had was Brian Mujati, but that ship has sailed. Perhaps we should go and poach the next big bad-ass Argie prop, like the Aussies did with Noriega.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    2:31 PM 25/08/2014

    Great comments, katman. Argentina had a huge day, their top players were outstanding. They are a team that does a lot of things well, and always scrum extremely well. 9 times out of 10, they'd have won that game. The Bokke were very lucky. As for Meyer's to-do list, I think you highlighted three of the four positions where he has had a concern for a while. We are light at tighthead, Dr Jannie might still be our best #3, but he's had some rough games recently. The #5 lock is still a worry (Matfield the best option right now?). The back-up to Fourie du Preez is a worry - Ruan is useful on the bench covering multiple positions, but he's not been good as a starting 9. And #13 is a big worry. I guess Jaque Fourie is first choice, but as with scrumhalf, the depth in the squad does not look great. Add to the mix that flyhalf is not entirely settled either, and that's a long list of issues to resolve. The big question perhaps is if Meyer's back to the future strategy pays off. He has not tried as many younger players as he could have, preferring instead to plug holes with veterans now playing abroad, and he's almost out of time before the next world cup to give opportunities to new faces. Anyway, the next four games are huge. And there's a number of guys who are playing for their international futures.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:42 AM 25/08/2014

    RUGBYdump, would probably be a more appropriate way of putting that... Are you sure that the Argentinian rugby team doesn't give a crap about England, Wales and Scotland?... I'm not sure I've heard about many teams that would simply turn up onto a pitch and say, "ah it's these guys again, who cares...". Last time I checked the Arg teams have fought pretty hard against all three.. Whether they've been able to produce their top teams or not is another matter, I suspect that they would produce higher player if club commitments etc didn't take priority. Italy don't count? I wish the rest of us could take attitudes like that with our teams.."We don't care about NZ, or Aus, most of them have UK ancestry anyway, they're mostly just brits"... That is clearly not the case. Otherwise one could ignore who ACTUALLY holds the RWC and just proclaim that it's Brits in disguise... You like Arg as the underdog? That is fine, I can't say I like it or dislike it, they are the underdog, so it's a case of accepting it. That in itself is not a bad thing as it makes the games all the more exciting when they have a near victory against one of the top 3 teams in the world. To address your final paragraph, what I have written is not patronising, nor intended to be insulting. What I am trying to say is that each team in the world, goes into the game with a plan, on appearance one could say: Aus, traditionally requires fast play, quick open and loose rugby with a lot of 'back orientated play'. NZ is more tight and well drilled, still focussing on fast, quick play, but the forwards will get involved hard. SA is MORE forward orientated, the backs are fast and deadly, but they appear to need the forwards to get them in place. So focussing on SA style, I'm saying that the Arg team seems to know how SA play and seem to know how to kill their style of play. This is not a negative (only for SA), they can get under the SA style, which stops SA doing what they do to 99% of the world.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:23 AM 25/08/2014

    I think wins are very important, but they must not gained at the expense of the team, but of course continual losses are not good for a team either, however as you've mentioned the contracts and commitments etc I see where you're coming from. I know exactly what you mean about player depth. Everything is fine if you have just 20 players who are all fit and healthy, but when your start fly half/scrum half/prop etc gets injured you need to replace them with someone else who is equally as good and not a fresh face baby. NZ is the key to this at the moment. It seems like they have the best players in the world in 1-15, but if one of them gets injured they can bring in someone who is almost BETTER as a replacement... Good luck with the Argentinian future!

    Reply
  • katman
    10:44 AM 25/08/2014

    This was the best performance by Argentina I've ever seen. Every area of the game was polished and intense. Their entire pack of forwards were huge on the day - Fernandez-Lobbe and Leguizamon are world class loose forwards. And in Sanchez they have a flyhalf who makes great decisions, and is very threatening with ball in hand. I feel really sorry for them - we could have easily lost this game. As far as the Boks go, I wish Henyeke Meyer will finally realise Jannie Du Plessis is not a scrummaging tighthead prop. This is not the first game he's battled in, and it won't be the last. Bismarck had his worst Bok game in years, our locks struggled to dominate and for two thirds of the game we got bullied at the breakdown. Ruan Pienaar should never have started at 9, De Allende is not a long term solution in the midfield and neither Habana nor Hendricks looked remotely interested in the game. Hopefully we won't get much worse.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    10:27 AM 25/08/2014

    Playing in Argentina is like Football in Italy. From the moment the gates open until the last person leaves, the crowd is absolutely deafening. The support is fanatical... and it might just be me, but I find crowds a bit more intimidating when I don't speak the language. The fans are behind chicken wire and barriers... it is an intimidating atmosphere. The stadium design also messes with perspective, the pitch feels smalle because it is enclosed by the fan barriers, and being an ex footie stadium, the pitch is maybe 5% smaller anyway. Twickenham is no different though, sometimes the width is changed

    Reply
  • drg
    12:16 AM 25/08/2014

    Regarding players, ok, I see that, there are only a few names that are the same in the Scotland games. Of course there is more to just rankings and of course it is important not to just put wins ahead of overall development. But there is also a good correlation between a teams standard and their rankings... NZ aren't hovering around number 1 just because it looks cool... At some point Argentina has to pull out wins in order to improve. Perhaps playing just subs against 'winnable' teams isn't overly bright, Anyway, as I've said, my point was not to insult or undersell the Argentine side.. I think we can all agree that they are not as good as NZ, SA, or Aus.. at least YET!!! Of course the future is bright I'm sure. My point was indeed to highlight how a team that can be seen to struggle against some, can smother the South Africans.. as if their style is a direct contradiction to the SA style.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:13 PM 24/08/2014

    Thanks for the reply & information. I find that sometimes teams like SA struggle against others even though in theory they are a far stronger, more developed team. I feel they don't often produce their best against Scotland, (and indeed Arg) when as I said, on paper/IRB rankings, they're a far more developed and successful team. It's almost as if their playing style meets it's match or gets closed down and they're quite often unable to adapt quickly. They're still the better team, so inevitably they eke out a win, but it's often nothing short of hard and close fought. Interesting regarding the pitch size.. you'd expect International venues to have quite strict codes, I know some pitches have much smaller areas behind the posts, but surely the playing area of the pitch has to be a set size..

    Reply
  • drg
    5:07 PM 24/08/2014

    I know this sounds very harsh and I apologise for the offence it will no doubt cause, BUT, are Argentina playing a lot better or do teams that tend to play them play worse than usual? Of course, the Pumas are getting better, there is no doubt about that, but I wonder whether their style of play squashes other teams game plans or perhaps the naivety of teams facing the Pumas gets the better of them. I know we can never do the old, 'we beat them, they beat you, therefore we would beat you' thing.. but I just mean when you consider the score here is 33-31 and then Argentina lost to Scotland 19-21.. I just have my doubts about whether the scoreline is as straightforward as it seems.. Also taking into consideration boks are number 2 in the world and Argentina are 12th... Congratulations to the boks, commiserations to the pumas. Best of luck to you both in the upcoming games.

    Reply
  • guy
    4:30 PM 24/08/2014

    The Pumas are getting there...just a matter of time. Excellent performance!!!

    Reply


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Springboks survive Salta scare after excellent Argentina performance | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos