Johann van Graan (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan hopes they can produce a spectacle for fans when they face Argentina in the Rugby World Cup’s Bronze Final on Friday (22:00 SA time).
READ: Springboks' Test record against Argentina
READ: 15 stats and facts - Boks v Argentina
READ: Bok record holders at the Olympic Stadium
The Boks have copped heavy criticism for their conservative approach at the tournament, especially after last weekend’s 20-18 semi-final defeat to New Zealand.
Despite the close scoreline, the Kiwis completely dominated the match and the Springboks never looked like crossing the whitewash.
New Zealand bossed territory (67%) and possession (57%) and according to statistics derived from World Rugby’s official website, dominated all facets of play.
However, Van Graan defended the Boks’ strategy at a press conference in Guildford on Thursday and instead credited the All Blacks for not allowing the Boks to enforce their game-plan.
“It was quite difficult to attack from our own 22 against New Zealand because they pinned us in our half,” said Van Graan.
“We had quite a few opportunities roundabout the halfway line and they just conceded penalties to give us threes instead of sevens (tries).
“We fought for that until the 72nd minute and had an opportunity and that drive wasn’t rewarded. Maybe if we got that penalty and won the game, then it could have been different but it isn’t.”
Without the added pressure of a final, Van Graan hopes for a more entertaining match at London’s Olympic Stadium.
“We have a lot of respect for Argentina for the way they have played in this World Cup. I believe the pressure is off both teams for not making the final, so we’re looking forward to a great game of rugby tomorrow. Obviously the weather might determine differently but we’ll just have to adapt in the 80 minutes.”
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein
15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Nicolas Sanchez (captain), 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Javier Ortega Desio, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matas Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Substitutes: 16 Lucas Noguera, 17 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Pablo Socino