'There is a lot of work we need to do‚' says Bok coach Erasmus
A thunderous contribution by the Springbok forwards helped set up an opening 34-21 Rugby Championship win over Argentina on Saturday‚ but coach Rassie Erasmus conceded it was far from a complete performance.
His team huffed and puffed with some intent in the first half‚ but struggled to break down the resilient Pumas defence.
It was only in the second half that their creative force came to the fore.
He lamented some technical and tactical errors but was satisfied with “a dominant performance‚ but not a crisp performance.”
“With Flo (Francois Louw) not being with us in June‚ Damian (Willemse) making his debut‚ Eben (Etzebeth) returning from injury and Warren (Whiteley) playing with us for the first time‚ I was expecting not fluent display‚” the coach said.
His team‚ however‚ did not lack for effort and Erasmus noted they were perhaps a little over enthusiastic.
“I think we got dragged into‚ not so much the pace of how the Pumas play but the time between set phases‚" he said.
"Line-out to scrum was really slow and we struggled to switch it on again. But that was fixed in the second half.
“A few line-outs were lost. I think it was a combination of Malcolm (Marx) who wasn’t with us in June.”
Thankfully Etzebeth stood tall in just about every other department.
Questions were raised about how match fit he would be but he vindicated the coach’s faith in him.
“We knew how fit he was and how hard he worked. The way he played surprised all of us‚” said Erasmus.
The coach could not fault his team’s effort at the breakdown but acknowledged that they at times were a little overzealous.
“We were awesome at the breakdown‚" he said.
"We were so low and I think at times we cleaned past the ball and it was exposed.
"There is a little technical change we have to make. Our scramble defence wasn’t what it could be.
“The biggest thing we were frustrated with was all the entries into the 22 and didn’t capitalise. There is a lot of work we need to do.”
They rectified that in the second half.
They went hard and straight with the forwards‚ mainly through Etzebeth before stinging the tourists wide with wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and Makazole Mapimpi who both ran in two tries.
The Boks ran in six tries for a bonus point win but the victory margin could have been greater had flyhalf Handre Pollard not been so off target with the boot.
“I’m going to lie to you if I said I was happy with his goal kicking.
"He will tell you he’s not happy with it and he’ll work on that‚” said Erasmus.
The coach was satisfied with his team’s first outing in the Rugby Championship but areas of improvement remain.
“The positives outweighed the mistakes.
"There is some gelling that still needs to take place‚” said the coach.