Rugby and more Rugby!

The Rugby Championship and Currie Cup are in full swing. Who are the early title favourites? Have your say on our Forum!

Breakdown worries for Heyneke

2012-08-26 12:42

Mendoza - South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer admitted on Sunday he has serious back row problems to solve before a Rugby Championship third-round clash in Australia next month.

His first away game since replacing out-of-contract Peter de Villiers in January did not go according to plan this weekend as they snatched an undeserved 16-16 draw with fired-up newcomers Argentina.

Los Pumas held a 10-point lead three times at Estadio Mundialista Malvinas Argentinas and it took a Francois Steyn try off a charge down to salvage some pride for the often outplayed Springboks.

Next up for the two-time world champions is a September 8 showdown with bogey team Australia in Perth, followed a week later by an even more daunting assignment against World Cup holders New Zealand in Dunedin.

Former Super Rugby title-winning coach Meyer gambled on a new loose trio combination of flanks Marcell Coetzee and Jacques Potgieter and No 8 Willem Alberts in this western city at the foothills of the Andes mountain range.

But the anticipated physicality from the green and gold back row never materialised as they repeatedly came off second best at the breakdowns while a near-capacity 40 000 crowd roared on the home team.

"We battled at the breakdown, we got little quick ball and, when we did, we should have used it better," Meyer admitted before the long flight back to Johannesburg.

"Argentina came hard at us as expected - creating many difficult situations for our inexperienced team - and we were found wanting at times when it came to mental toughness.

"I am sorry the way we played did not honour the great welcome we had in Mendoza. The people can be proud of their team," said Meyer of a national team avoiding defeat for the first time in 15 Tests against the Springboks.

Meyer opted for ball-carrying loose forwards when he took over and discarded Heinrich Brüssow, ranked among the best "scavengers" in world rubgy for his ability to win possession at rucks and mauls.

Potgieter was a particular disappointment in Mendoza, never stamping his authority on the game like he did for the Bulls in his maiden Super Rugby season.

Argentina proved quick learners as they shrugged off a 27-6 loss in Cape Town last weekend to dominate much of the game through a fiery pack and fearsome tackling with veteran loosehead prop Rodrigo Roncero prominent.

"We had hoped for another result - a win - but we are still very satisfied. The team did a lot of good work at the breakdown, displaying a strength of Argentine rugby," said coach Santiago Phelan.

But the 38-year-old former Pumas flank could not hide disappointment at letting victory slip from their grasp, nor could inspirational captain and No 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

"We made progress from last week in Cape Town and now we must prepare for the biggest challenges we will face as players," he said ahead of September fixtures in New Zealand and Australia on consecutive weekends.

"There was much talk this week about improving how we got out of our own half and for a big part of the match we did that well. The key factors were attitude, commitment and confidence."

New Zealand completed a "double" over Australia by winning 22-0 in Auckland and lead the Championship table with eight points after two rounds, followed by South Africa with six, Argentina with two while Australia are pointless.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What did you think of the Springboks’ effort against Argentina on Saturday? Can they achieve long-term success with the game plan they have? Send your thoughts to Sport24.

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
121 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures

23 August 2014
  • New Zealand v Australia, Auckland 09:35
  • Argentina v South Africa, Salta 21:40
06 September 2014
  • New Zealand v Argentina, Napier 09:35
  • Australia v South Africa, Perth 12:05
13 September 2014
  • New Zealand v South Africa, Wellington 09:35
  • Australia v Argentina, old Coast Queensland 12:05

Logs

Rank Team P W Pts

Results

16 August 2014
28 June 2014
21 June 2014
14 June 2014
07 June 2014
23 November 2013
17 November 2013
09 November 2013
05 October 2013
28 September 2013
14 September 2013
07 September 2013
24 August 2013
17 August 2013
22 June 2013
15 June 2013
08 June 2013

Opinion Poll

After the first weekend's Rugby Championship action, which team do you see as the strongest title contender?

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.