Boks have nowhere to hide
REACTION: Based on their performances against Ireland in the in June, Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee made it clear that his team will have to improve drastically on the field if they are to beat Argentina on Saturday. Warren Fortune reports.
The Springboks were less than impressive against the Irish, narrowly winning the three-Test series 2-1. However, after having bit more time together, Coetzee hopes that his players have a better understanding of what they have to do on the field in their Rugby Championship opener at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
"We got to improve in a big way," Coetzee told reporters at the team announcement on Thursday. "If you want to improve in small batches then a team like Argentina puts you to bed.
"They are a world force in rugby. They are not just a team that is growing, which is probably a picture that the people see out there.
"They are a quality side and they really are a rugby powerhouse and we will be facing a massive forward onslaught. It starts with the scrummaging and we can't just improve little by little there. We have to get dominance or parity.
Coetzee added: "I feel happy with the preparation. There is a lot of clarity in terms of planning.
"The players understand the plan and they bought into the plan. Now it is just up to the execution."
There are a few new faces in Coetzee's team since June with Bryan Habana, Johan Goosen and Teboho Mohoje all making their first appearances for the Boks this year.
One player who could feel hard done by is in-form flank, Jaco Kriel. The 26-year-old flank has been in phenomenal form for the Lions this year but finds himself on the bench for Saturday's match.
In total, Kriel has only played 20 minutes of rugby for the Springboks in 2016.
However, Coetzee defended his back row selection, which includes Mohoje, Francois Louw and Warren Whiteley.
"With Francois Louw, there is a perception that he has not performed well. Securing the ball at the breakdown is what an openside [flank] should do. His role is to be playing towards the ball and that is what he [Louw] has done well.
"Then you look at Oupa Mohoje as a line-out specialist in the team. Oupa has tasted success against New Zealand and Australia, so he is a great line-out specialist for us and he is a good carrier of the ball. So I am happy with the combination of our loose trio.
"If you look at the impact off the bench, you got Jaco Kriel who can play the same role as Francois Louw. Pieter-Steph du Toit is also covering the No.7 role for me," Coetzee added.
By Warren Fortune, in Nelspruit