Johannesburg - Springbok Faf de Klerk admitted he was a “frustrated” man after Saturday’s 30-23 win over Argentina in Nelspruit, especially as the South Americans had been allowed to play negatively and slow the ball down with ease.
According to the SuperSport website, De Klerk sparked the comeback as the Boks scored 17 points in 9 minutes to win the test, and was man of the match, but said the way the Argentineans played made it difficult for the Boks to execute quick ball and this was a massive concern going into this weekend’s return fixture in Salta.
The Boks struggled to secure their own ball at the breakdown, and made poor decisions when they were on attack, allowing Argentina to come within a whisker of winning their second game ever against the South Africans.
“It was very frustrating. The main thing for us is to get quick ball against these guys and they literally at every ruck slowed us down,” De Klerk said.
“It was frustrating for me, and we handled it quite well in the last 20 minutes of the game. It is a focus point for next week to make sure we get quick ball and get those threats out.
“Maybe the ref could have pinned them a few times, because they slowed the ball down. But that is something for next week to work on, to be more clinical.”
De Klerk is correct in his assessment that the Boks will need to sort out the breakdown against an Argentinean team that played much better than the Jaguares. While the Boks have themselves to blame for their decision-making, it is abruptly clear that the same side that played on Saturday certainly isn’t comparable to the Jaguares side in Super Rugby.
“The biggest thing for us, is that this isn’t the Jaguares team, when they put on that jersey they change completely and we wanted to kick long in the beginning and they handled it very well,” De Klerk adds, citing the change in tactics to kick from 9 instead of 10 that made the difference.
“ When we started kicking off 9 a bit we put them under pressure. At test level you have a set plan for the weekend, but you have to adapt and target their weak points. When we started kicking off nine that made a big difference. Next week we will have to get clean ball off that ruck”
De Klerk saved the Bok bacon on two consecutive tests now, and is by far the player in the setup who can be the happiest about his game, but what about the rest?
The halfback believes that the team are still finding each other and that it will take time to gel as a unit.
“It makes it very easy and gives the coach more confidence in the players and if you look at the great teams that is what they do well,” De Klerk adds.
“That is where we are heading to, and when to run and when to kick and I think if we play a bit longer together that will get better and better.
“I played with Oupa the first time tonight, there are a lot of players I haven’t played with. It is great to get the continuity going and we need to play together more as a group of guys.”
The Bok side is unlikely to change much this week heading into the return fixture in Salta. They need to find each other quicker in an unforgiving competition.
But De Klerk’s rise as the Bok halfback is something to celebrate, even if it is one of the few things positive from the weekend.
Read the story on SuperSport