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Ken Borland

Springboks v Argentina: Work-ons ahead of Kings Park decider

Posted on November 02, 2022 by Ken

The Springboks are still on track to win the Rugby Championship following a bonus point win over Argentina in Buenos Aires.

They are now level on points (14) with New Zealand ahead of their final fixture, again versus Argentina, but this time in Durban next Saturday.

So the Springboks need to better whatever the All Blacks result is against the Wallabies, while they also have a 13-point deficit in points difference to make up.

As impressive as their composure and finishing was in Buenos Aires, these are the work-ons the Springboks need to focus on ahead of the Kings Park decider.

Not allowing themselves to be trapped on the back foot

The Springboks were so dominant both in terms of territory and possession in the first half that it was a major surprise when the momentum shifted so thoroughly in the third quarter, which the visitors spent mostly on defence.

Argentina undoubtedly raised their intensity in a last-ditch effort to stay in contention for their maiden Sanzar title, and a passionate crowd added to the sense of mania, but the Springboks contributed to their torrid time by perhaps relying too much on the 22-6 lead they had built up in the first half.

These dips in intensity from the Springboks have been a feature of their campaign, and captain Siya Kolisi was quite right when he said they will need an 80-minute performance of high intensity in Durban if they are to get their hands on the trophy.

Wednesday is flyhalf D-Day

With Damian Willemse almost certainly concussed and unavailable for the decider, we will know on Wednesday how coach Jacques Nienaber is going to solve his flyhalf conundrum, with Handre Pollard injured and Elton Jantjies out of the public eye after his out-of-wedlock activities.

The only real options remaining in the squad are Willie le Roux and Francois Steyn.

Le Roux has great attacking instincts, his timing of passes being superb, while Steyn is a powerful presence in defence, carrying the ball and with the boot. Whoever is chosen needs to wed those strengths with the game-management demands of the game, which will be intricate depending on what the Springboks have to do to overhaul the All Blacks.

Don’t let ill-discipline end in tears

While the Springboks covered themselves in glory by showing great composure and character to weather a massive storm and seal victory after Argentina had pulled to within two points, they can still improve on their discipline.

They conceded two yellow cards and 16 penalties, and were it not for poor finishing by the Pumas, they would have been punished for it. If Argentina are as abrasive again but more clinical in Durban, then South Africa will need to show incredible composure.

Missed tackles feed the momentum

While the Springboks scrambled well in Buenos Aires, they missed 22 tackles, which just feeds the momentum of a team like the Pumas, who rely so much on emotion and are dangerous when allowed to attack on the front foot.

It is a concentration thing more than anything.

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