Rugby Championship

Breakdown worries for Heyneke

2012-08-26 12:42
Heyneke Meyer (File)

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.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Dick Muir chats to Sport24

2014-07-25 15:14

 

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
  • SS3
    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 @04:00
  • SS4:
    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 @05:00
  • SS5:
    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 @06:00
  • Blitz
    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 @07:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
16 August 2014
Australia v New Zealand, Sydney 12:05
South Africa v Argentina, Pretoria 17:00
23 August 2014
New Zealand v Australia, Auckland 09:35
Argentina v South Africa, rgentina 21:10
06 September 2014
New Zealand v Argentina, apier 09:35
Australia v South Africa, erth 12:05
Vote

Do you have faith in coach Heyneke Meyer taking the Springboks to the 2015 Rugby World Cup?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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