Strauss: Why Boks did not panic

Sun, 21 Aug 2016 09:16

REACTION: South African captain Adriaan Strauss said the valuable lessons they learnt in June against Ireland helped them against Argentina. Warren Fortune reports from Nelspruit.

The Springboks scored a 30-23 come-from-behind victory over Los Pumas in the opening round of the Rugby Championship at the Mbombela Stadium.

The Springboks were good in patches at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit but were also quite abysmal at times against a spirited Pumas team.

The home side was 10 points down going into the final 10 minutes of the game.

However, a late surge, which included tries by Johan Goosen and Warren Whiteley, helped them get past their opponents.

Strauss said their loss to Ireland in Cape Town two months ago was a huge a learning curve which helped them in that final few minutes in Nelspruit.

"We learnt a bit from the first Test against Ireland not to panic," Strauss told reporters after the game.

"The guys got so much energy and they got so much belief in the team and themselves which makes it a lot easier.

"It was not necessary to calm the guys down, they were calm and we just had to re-focus and be reminded that a lot can happen in nine minutes.

Strauss admitted that he and he his teammates were not good enough in certain facets of the game and that they will need to improve drastically ahead of the next game against the Pumas in Salta next weekend.

"I don't think it was the best flowing game - it was a bit of a strange game. There is a lot to improve on and a lot to work on before Salta.

"There was a lot of turnovers and a lot of lost possession. The ball was a bit slippery at times. There were a lot of kicks as well and I think they were very good at the breakdowns. There was also a shift in momentum every couple of seconds in the game," Strauss added.

Meanwhile, Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee lamented the many opportunities his team squandered on attack.

"It is a bit of déjà vu from the first Test [against Ireland], but fortunately this week we pulled through," said Coetzee.

"I am obviously pleased with the result, but definitely not pleased with the 20 minutes before half-time and the 20 minutes after half-time.

"I think we started well, but then we sort of let it slip again through opportunities which we did not take. We did not take the points that are on offer and then all of a sudden errors start creeping into our game and we find it difficult to apply pressure again.

"For 40 minutes I was not happy, but I was very happy with the last 15 minutes. I think that is what we would like to see for longer periods.

Coetzee added: "What I want us to develop is a killer instinct. It is when we get to positions and places on the field and get the executions right.

"Every opportunity you get you must put points on the scoreboard. And that is the next step for us - to get that right."

By Warren Fortune, in Nelspruit
@FortuneWarren
@rugby365com

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