Rugby Championship

5 talking points: Boks v Argentina

2017-08-21 08:00
Elton Jantjies (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 37-15 Rugby Championship win over Argentina in Port Elizabeth:

1. Romain Poite in the spotlight - again!

Eyebrows were raised in some quarters when French referee Romain Poite was appointed to referee the Test at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Poite made headlines last month when he controversially changed his mind over a penalty he awarded the All Blacks late in their drawn Test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland.

South African fans will also remember the Frenchman for controversially sending off hooker Bismarck du Plessis against the All Blacks in 2013.

On Saturday, two incidents created fresh doubts over Poite’s competency at Test level.

He seemingly cost the Boks a try in the 15th minute when Courtnall Skosan had chipped over the Argentine defence, before Jan Serfontein gathered and sent Jaco Kriel over.

Poite determined that the Boks had knocked on, but replays appeared to show that the ball was in fact knocked back by an Argentine player.

Meanwhile, by the letter of the law, Skosan’s try shortly before half-time should not have been allowed. On his way to the tryline the Bok wing got up from a tackle when the law states he should have released the ball first before doing so. There was no clear release and it was a lucky try for the hosts.

On both above-mentioned occasions, Poite turned down the opportunity to go to the television match official and questions should be asked why he opted against using technology.

2. Powerful Bok scrum

The Springboks’ dominance at scrum time laid the platform for their comfortable win.

Argentina, with their famous "Bajada", once had a reputation as boasting the strongest scrum in international rugby.

However, times have changed and on Saturday they were humbled in that department.

Coenie Oosthuizen, who duly received the man-of-the-match accolade, silenced critics who said he couldn’t play as a tighthead.

3. Fit Boks

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson earlier in the season suggested that South African rugby players aren’t as fit as their Kiwi counterparts.

However, for me, during the tail-end of Saturday’s Test the Springboks’ fitness stood out.

Argentina had just scored to get back into the game, trailing 23-15, when the Boks went up another gear.

They quickly shut the door on any hopes Los Pumas may have harboured of staging a comeback with an enthusiastic and energetic final quarter.

It may not have been the case in Sydney this past weekend, but the All Blacks are renowned for playing their best rugby in the final 20 minutes of games and South Africa’s performance in the closing stages in Port Elizabeth was welcome to see.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium's sandy surface seemingly had no adverse affect on the home side in the closing stages.

4. Assured performance from Bok pivot

Knives are often out for Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies for his inconsistent performances. I feel the criticism he has received in the past was justified as there had been big games in which he flattered to deceive.

He is a confidence player who thrives on the front foot.

But Jantjies has been outstanding in a Springbok jersey in 2017 and - just as he deserved the flak that came his way - he also deserves credit when due.

Jantjies was on song in the Rugby Championship opener, his goal-kicking was flawless and his overall game management was up to standard.

5. NO try-scoring bonus point for Boks!

There was some confusion post-Test on how many log points the Springboks earned in victory.

The SuperSport commentators had misinformed viewers that the Springboks had claimed a try-scoring bonus point courtesy of their four tries.

In his post-match interview, Bok captain Eben Etzebeth also made mention of the fact his side had bagged a four-try bonus point.

But they forgot that the same system used nowadays in Super Rugby - where a team is only awarded a bonus point for scoring three more tries than the opposition - also applies to the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks therefore needed to score a fifth try if they were to take five points from the game.

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Saturday, 30 September 2017
South Africa v Australia, Bloemfontein 17:05
Sunday, 01 October 2017
Argentina v New Zealand, Buenos Aires 00:40
Saturday, 07 October 2017
South Africa v New Zealand, Cape Town 17:05
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