Rugby Championship

5 talking points: Argentina v Boks

2017-08-28 08:05
Eben Etzebeth congratulates Siya Kolisi (AP)

Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 41-23 Rugby Championship win over Argentina in Salta:

1. Los Pumas see red!

Apart from facing a Springbok team playing in red, Los Pumas themselves saw red in another highly ill-disciplined performance.

Lock Tomas Lavanini was sent off in the 57th minute when he received a second yellow - and subsequent red - card for a cynical knock-down which also resulted in a penalty try to the Springboks.

Argentina conceded 11 penalties in Saturday’s Test and their discipline, or rather the lack of it, is becoming an embarrassment.

The Jaguares were pathetic in this department in Super Rugby and the national team appears to be in the same boat.

One thing has become evident, if you attack inside Argentine territory, the chances are pretty good that a penalty is forthcoming...

2. Enterprising Boks

The Springboks’ bonus-point victory was their fifth on the trot and only the second time in history that they had won five successive Tests by 15 or more points.

The other time was almost two decades ago when Nick Mallett’s team beat France 52-10, England 29-11 and Scotland 58-10 in late 1997, 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 that the Boks had scored four or more tries and 35 or more points in five successive Tests.

It was also coach Allister Coetzee’s first away win and the enterprising manner in which the team played was a welcome sight.

Siya Kolisi’s second try was a spectacular team effort which saw the Boks run from their own goal-line - this was unthinkable a year ago!

3. Standout Springbok

Man-of-the-match Kolisi was again spectacular and has made great strides in Test rugby this year.

His industrious effort was rewarded with two tries and he would have bagged a hat-trick had it not been for Lavanini’s cynical infringement.

Kolisi’s leadership qualities have also come to the fore in the Test arena in 2017 and he must be regarded as a potential future Springbok captain.

4. Two Bok moments of madness

Two crucial Springbok errors stand out from Saturday’s Test  and it played a significant part in keeping Argentina in the game.

Argentina wing Ramiro Moyano’s try in the 28th minute came when the Boks failed to handle a restart by allowing it to bounce.

Franco Mostert and Jesse Kriel were the culprits and the lack of communication was worrisome. In my opinion, it was Kriel’s ball to take as it was in front of him, while Mostert was retreating.

Kriel should have made the call to nominate.

The second error which stands out is Andries Coetzee’s yellow card in the 60th minute.

Coetzee had tackled Matias Orlando late after the Pumas centre had scored, which prompted French referee Pascal Gauzere to dish out a yellow card, as well as award Argentina a penalty on halfway.

In a flash, 10 points were added to Argentina’s tally, and with Coetzee in the sin-bin, it was a 14 v 14 contest again and gave Los Pumas a sneak.

Coetzee had also made an error in the build-up to Orlando’s try as he failed to handle a high ball - but he should not have taken out his frustration in that manner.

These above-mentioned errors could prove costly against more fancied opposition.

5. Are the Boks ready for All Blacks, Wallabies?

The Springboks have started the year on a high note by winning their first five Tests, but question-marks perhaps still linger over whether they’re ready to face tougher opposition.

They beat a disinterested France team 3-0 and then followed it up with back-to-back wins over Argentina, who are now ranked a lowly 10th in the world.

There’s no doubt the Boks are moving in the right direction and there has been marked improvement from 2016, but the real test will come over the next few weeks.

In recent weeks, several pundits have noted that home and away wins over Australia would be non-negotiable for the Boks in this year’s Rugby Championships.

However, given Australia’s performance against New Zealand in Dunedin at the weekend, a win for South Africa in Perth on September 9 is not a foregone conclusion.

The Wallabies achieved almost the unthinkable by scoring five tries against the All Blacks in New Zealand and it was only some wayward goal-kicking from flyhalf Michael Foley that proved the difference.

The Boks will have their hands full and their performance in Perth will perhaps give an indication whether they're ready to duel the All Blacks.

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