The boks were drawn into the Argentinians messy and scrappy style of play. Maybe it’s time for referees to start acting on the Pumas persistent illegal tactics at the tackle ball as well as their time wasting actions at the scrum and lineout.
One can go on and argue that this result is good for Argentinian rugby and that a competitive Argentinian team is good for the competition. Personally I don’t feel like going up that road.
It was scrappy; it was irritating; it was ugly and it pulled Southern hemisphere rugby right back into the nineteen sixties in my opinion.
In my previous post I wrote about three things in the Springbok game that I am concerned about and those three things (poor structure at the breakdown, no flair in the back three and player selections) were abundantly obvious in this extremely humiliating performance by the Springboks.
The Pumas gave us a rugby lesson at the breakdowns. They had better structure and exposed our lack thereof in no uncertain way.
So effective were the Pumas at the tackle ruck that we started to avoid taking the ball into contact with our usual bulls-pod-charges. Once we stated to take the ball wide we got back into the game but I cringed fearing for the worst every time Kirchner touched the ball. It was a horribly poor clearance kick by Zane Kirchner that created the ball for the Argentinians to start running at us and to manufacture their try. Kirchner either kicked badly or just ran into traffic everytime looking like he is going to loose the ball. Morné Steyn’s tactical kicking so by the way was just as poor not even to mention the multiple number of clearance kicks by him that didn’t reached the touch line.
The boks sped the game up and employed some decoy and angled runners coming from depth but they never really looked like they were going to score. The lack of flair in the back department was clearly evident every time the ball went to the wings. Why no Lambie to try and spark something and how I was hoping for somebody like Aplon that could inject some pace and clever angles when the ball went wide? The Frans Steyn charge down try was to be honest a very very lucky break for a Springbok team under the pump and rattled.
Jacques Potgieter??? Please Heynecke Meyer just get real!! Keegan Daniel made immediate impact when he came on while I would have difficulty giving Potgieter anything higher than 4 out of 10 for his performance in this match.
The Pumas are passionate and a handful at home and the Springboks clearly underestimated the passion and gamesmanship they will bring to the table. We kicked for lineout at least twice early in the match when we should have gone for penalty points. We also missed 12 points with penalties; at least two of those 4 penalties were easy kicks.
We were lucky to salvage a draw out of this even though we came out on top with regard to possession and territory stats.
The problem started the moment Meyer decided to get drawn into their type of game by selecting players to brawl with them. A fast pace recycle game that take the ball away from their beefy if not overweight forwards with loose forwards that can link and ruck effectively out wide is the way to go.
I predict the Aussies and All Blacks are going to take these Pumas to the cleaners by speeding the game up and putting the ball into the hands of players with real pace and flair like Cory Jane, Isreal Dagg and Digby Ioane, James O’Conner, Drew Mitchell and Hosea Gear.
We got pulled into their game and did not have the players on the field to play a different game plan.
In the end it was a lucky break for Heynecke Meyer but nobody is fooled in any way whatsoever and it’s time for Meyer to get rid of his blue tinted glasses and move beyond blue bull rugby and players.