Coetzee lauds leadership as Boks go top

Sun, 27 Aug 2017 09:39

REACTION: Springbok coach Allister Coetzee praised the 'leadership' in the team after their 41-23 win over Los Pumas in Salta at the weekend.

The five tries to two victory - following last week's 37-15 win in Port Elizabeth - saw South Africa move ahead of New Zealand at the top of the Rugby Championship standings.

There is another spin-off from the impressive win over Argentina - South Africa's third successive triumph of the year - the 18-point margin the smallest in 2017.

The win will also see South Africa move up in the world rankings - overtaking Ireland and to go to third place.

Coetzee team's planning and the players' conditioning following the bonus point win over Los Pumas.

Speaking to the media after the match in Salta, Coetzee was full of praise for the team's preparation plan for the difficult away match in Salta, where the Boks lost last year.

"We changed our travel plan to Salta this year, preparing for two days in South Africa before flying to Argentina on the Wednesday, which is also our off day," said Coetzee.

"Then I must add that the players looked after themselves in terms of their conditioning and recovery, and here our medical and conditioning staff deserve a good mention. We want to play with a high intensity and our players have a very high work rate."

The Springbok forwards once more did a sterling job, delivering solid performances in scrums and line-outs, while the maul was one of the Boks' main attacking weapons in the second half.

"Our plan was definitely to use the maul against them," explained Coetzee.

Apart from the careful planning and good preparation, Coetzee also lauded the leadership of the team.

"I think the key for winning was leadership, the way our players showed calmness and character under pressure.

"There is a strong leadership group around our captain Eben Etzebeth."

The home team also had to play parts of the match with only 14 men after lock Tomas Lavanini was shown a second yellow card, and resultant red, for a deliberate knock-down.

It was only the second time in history that the Boks had won five successive Tests by 15 or more points.

The only other time was between the end of 1997 and the inbounds of 1998 when Nick Mallett's team beat France 52-10, England 29-11 and Scotland 58-10, and the first four Tests of 1998 against Ireland (37-13 and 33-0), Wales (96-13) and England (18-0).

It was also only the second time ever that the Boks had scored four or more tries and 35 or more points in five successive Tests.

Equally impressive is Elton Jantjies' kicking record, which now stands at 89 percent in the last six Tests (34 successful kicks out of 38), all of which he had started.

The Springboks return to South Africa on Tuesday morning and will have a couple of days to recover before getting together on Friday for their two away matches against the Wallabies and All Blacks.

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