Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights 5 talking points after the Springboks’ 26-12 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires.
1. Lambie stakes claim for No 10 jersey
Pat Lambie’s performance at flyhalf may just have done enough to earn him a starting slot ahead of Handre Pollard at the Rugby World Cup.
Aided by an improved performance from the Bok pack, Lambie excelled, with his decision-making spot on most occasions.
He also produced a flawless goal-kicking display, slotting two conversions, three penalties and a drop goal for a 16-point haul.
Lambie only really made two mistakes - kicking out on the full with one cross-kick and missing one penalty kick for touch.
Pollard is no doubt a huge talent but he has fallen prey to some inconsistencies that proved costly in the Boks’ three previous defeats.
2. Improved Bok scrum
After the embarrassments of the previous week at Kings Park, it was a much more improved effort at scrum time by the Springboks.
It gave the Boks enough front-foot ball to work with, which allowed Lambie to excel.
Trevor Nyakane and Marcel van der Merwe passed the test, but it was perhaps significant that last week’s tormentor was missing from the Pumas line-up, as Nick Mallett noted in the SuperSport studio afterwards: “This was a much better performance, just starting with the scrummaging, we won four or five excellent penalties. With Argentina missing (Marcos) Ayerza, that was very significant for them, he caused all the problems for our scrum last weekend...”
3. Why the white Boks?!
Who was the rocket scientist who decided that the Boks should play in an all-white strip?! It caused great confusion for viewers as Argentina’s light blue and white kit looked fairly similar. They have more white than blue on their jerseys and with both teams playing in white shorts, it made for painful viewing at times.
Credit must go to referee Glen Jackson, who didn’t allow the confusion affect his performance. The Kiwi referee became the first New Zealander to both play and referee 100 first-class games and his performance was worthy of the accolade...
There were talks on social media that the Boks played in a changed strip because they are under a sponsor’s obligation to do so at least for one Test per year. But why choose a game where you run the risk of jerseys clashing?
4. Versatile Habana
An interesting observation was Bryan Habana featuring on the right wing during Saturday’s Test. Even though the Bok flyer wore No 11 on his back, and left wing Lwazi Mvovo No 14, Habana played on the right side throughout the Test.
The shift didn’t prove too troublesome for the experienced veteran, who was alert and constructive, especially on kick chases. He was also on hand to register a 58th Test try, albeit one of his easiest yet.
Mvovo also impressed and capped his performance with a brilliant try which saw him beat several Argentine defenders.
5. Boks dozing off...
After leading 20-3 after 31 minutes, the Springboks took their feet off the pedal, opting to rather eke out a win.
They are developing a tendency to do this in recent times, with earlier losses to Australia and New Zealand proven examples of that.
One great weapon of the All Blacks is that they always a finish a game strong.
You can't go to sleep against the All Blacks in the last 20 minutes and the Boks need to realise this if they aim to beat them in a possible World Cup semi-final later this year.