Springbok bench makes the difference in Salta




Springbok captain Jean de Villiers praised the impact made by the South African replacements as they recorded a hard-fought 33-31 Castle Lager Rugby Championship victory over a gallant Argentina in Salta on Saturday afternoon.

With 20 minutes to go, the home team led by 28-16, but tries in the final quarter by right wing Cornal Hendricks and replacement flank Marcell Coetzee swung the tide in the Springboks’ favour. A late penalty goal by replacement flyhalf Morné Steyn was the difference in the end.

The Springboks went into the break 16-13 in the lead, mainly thanks to a try by Bryan Habana and some pin-point goal-kicking by Handré Pollard, but Argentina scored two tries in quick succession early in the second half to take a 12-point cushion into the final 20 minutes.

However, that was when the Springboks got momentum after they struggled to get good possession in the first hour of the match. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de Villiers praised the home team for their performance after the match.

“I’ve said it before, but I really think Argentina is a much better team than what their world-ranking shows, and they showed it again today,” said De Villiers after the match.

“We’re happy that we could pull it through, but it could’ve gone either way.”

De Villiers said the energy brought by the Springbok replacements was probably where his team won the match.

“That is not saying that the players who started did badly, but our bench, whom we see as impact players rather than replacements, certainly made an impact today and that is probably where the difference was.”

Meyer said his team had shown great character to pull this one through.

“All credit to Argentina though – they’ve been together for a month and you could see that today as they played some great rugby,” said Meyer.

“We don’t want to say every week that we’ve shown great character, but we’ve now won nine out of our last 10 away games and I think the guys have shown that they know how to win.

“At one stage, we were down and out and the team came back. We know there are a lot of areas we have to work on, but we’re still in this competition.”

The Springboks will return to South Africa on Monday before regrouping on Thursday to start preparations for the Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, against Australia in Perth (6 September) and New Zealand in Wellington (13 September).

The only major injury concern at this stage is Frans Malherbe, who sustained a serious injury to his right ankle and was forced the leave the field late in the match. He will not be available for the rest of the competition.

Malherbe will consult with a specialist in Cape Town upon his return to South Africa, when a call on further treatment and his replacement will be make.


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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. @Sasori:

    It looks as-if on the TV but we’re looking at an angle.

    The referee and the AR are almost perfectly in line with the pass. No way they would have missed it.

  2. The scrums are a different story altogether.

    Looking at them frame-by-frame and I see things very different than the referee.

    In the 1st scrum for example, the Arg TH, is the first player to pop his head, after him Bismarck pops out and only after that does the referee point to Jannie, scrumming at an angle.

    At the 2nd scrum, Jannie bound on the LHs arm. Legit penalty, although the ref seemed to have awarded it for something else.

    At the 3rd scrum, he correctly pinged the Arg LH for scrumming at an angle, but then later in the 2nd half there were two instances of identical angles, where instead he pinged the Bok TH.

    The inward angle onto the Bok TH, is in fact clearly visible even before the engage and by the time ball goes in, is about 70-80 degrees from straight.

  3. The backline problems, both on attack and defense IMO is with 10, 12 and 13.

    Morne Steyn should start, with Lambie on the bench.

    Considering how effective Serfontein was against Wales, a much better team than Argentina, he should start at 12, with de Villiers at 13 and Hougaard and Lambie on the bench.

    The forward pack, pretty much is what it is. From the available players, I don’t really see much that could change.

  4. @Timeo:

    I’ve stated many times… going into the RC without a tested centre combo (and not trying them at least against Scotland) was going to cost the Boks… and it very nearly did…

    Serfontein 12 JDV 13 should have been the play… and Serfontein has also played with both Steyn and Pollard…

    Boks players should be raked over the coals for their pathetic tackling and poor breakdown play…

    Thank goodness for the bench…

  5. Some good comments on the game here.

    Have to agree, Morne has to start. I also agree with Jean moving out one and Jan coming into the starting team.

    If Willem and Victor are available I would bring both of them into the starting team with Lood out of the team. Bakkies made a huge difference when he came on as an impact player. Would keep him there along with Marcel, who really played well when he came on. Juan, unfortunately will then fall out of the team.

    I would also start with different front row against the Wallabies, letting the du Plessis brothers play from the bench. Our lineouts look much better with Adriaan throwing in anyway. Who to replace Malherbe at TH, I have no idea, but seeing that the young Bulls tighthead were part of the group in June, he will probably come in I presume?

    I sincerely hope Guthro is now done. He was a great player, but these days he just seems to make up the numbers. If Trevor is not just there for window dressing, give him a proper run Heyneke, or get someone in there that can take some workload off Beast.

  6. Then again this is third year blues for Bok coaches and in all honesty poor SR selections have left him with very little in the line of choice with players in their positions and there are a high number of injured players not available. … and oof course we have the incessant player drain to Europe..

  7. In my opinion here was our problems.

    Lack of aggression – We tried to pull the Argies down when defending. Almost nobody made a tackle with their shoulders. We tried to ride the guy into the ground rather than stop him dead. One of the only guys that made a proper hit was Bakkies when he hit the Argie that led to the penalty that Bosch stroked over.

    Look at the tackle that Hendricks – who had a good game – made when trying to stop the Argie for their first try – there you don’t try and and go for the legs – you hit the guy in the chest area to try and either get him into touch or dislodge the ball. The tackle he made on his legs helped bugger all.

    Look at the Tackle that Le Roux made when the scrummy scored – he basically tried to chuck the guy over the line ffs. And the tackle between Lood and Bismarck that let the guy slip through – FFS are they in grade 5?

    Our lineout was a shambles. Lood needs some more tutoring from Matfield before he can call the lineouts.

    Our scrum was crap – everybody knows that.

    Bismarck and Jannie needs to have a rest – they seem complacent and bitchy – maybe they got used to the jersey?

    Craven – unless you have a direct line to heaven – I don’t think Tommy will be making a comeback.


  8. @Methos The French Stormer:

    Our lineouts looked better when Adriaan was throwing in.

    This leads to the next question, why did we look somewhat better later in the second half? We started getting some go forward from guys like Marcel, Adriaan and Bakkies, Hougaard was a lot quicker to the ball and his passes were quicker as well. Then Morne looked more in control and his kicks were better.

    One of these, or more a case of a sum of all the parts.

  9. Craven


    Moments before the West Coast’s rugby iron man, Tommie Laubscher, was killed in the early hours of Saturday morning, he saved his son’s life.

    Laubscher, 43, and his son, Tommie jnr, had stopped to help a driver who had hit a cow, when he saw a vehicle heading for them through the mist and pushed his son out of the way.

    The former Springbok prop forward was wearing his Western Province blazer when he died.

    Minutes after being hit by the bakkie, Tommie died in the arms of his close friend, Johann “Bokkom” Cilliers.

    The driver Tommie was trying to help had hit the cow in the mist on the road between Velddrif and Piketberg. He and Tommie jnr were a few metres from the car when the bakkie hit him.

    An emotional Cilliers told Rapport he was the first person at the accident.

    “When I got into my vehicle to drive on, I heard brakes screaming. I turned and saw Tommie lying about 30 metres away.

    “He was still alive. I took him in my arms and he gave me a last hug. Then he died. He was my tjomma (best friend) and my brother.”

    Cilliers’ wife, Jeanette, said Tommie had insisted that they should visit on the Friday evening.

    “He was wearing his WP blazer and made us a delicious seafood potjie, the way that only Tommie could do it. He had us laughing, with his quick wit.

    “After we’d eaten, the children wanted to go and “spot” wild pigs.

    “On the way home, we stopped where someone had hit a cow on the road. Tommie was driving behind us. We phoned him to tell him about the accident and warned him drive carefully.

    “He stopped about 100m from the accident and he and his son climbed out.

    “That’s when he was hit by the bakkie. We don’t want to even talk about it, it’s too painful.”

    Cilliers said Tommie was a legend, not only on the rugby field, but with his friends as well.

    “He would have turned 44 in October, and he referred to it as his 4×4 party. He was a gentle giant.”

    As a young WP prop forward who had the scales groaning at 117kg, Tommie was a formidable opponent in the scrum.

    He turned out for Boland 43 times between 1980 and 1981, and played almost 100 matches in Western Province colours.

    His Springbok debut was against the Argentine in Port Elizabeth in 1994.

    Tommie jnr, who is a matric pupil at Drostdy High School in Worcester, had to be sedated after the accident. Tommie’s wife, Antoinette, was extremely emotional.

    Cilliers said: “Tommie jnr said the only present he could offer his father was to become a Springbok rugby player.” Tommie jnr plays on the flank for his school.

    The other children, André, 11, and Elmarie, 16, also were heart-broken.

    Tommie’s uncle, Andries du Toit, drove through to Vredenburg on Saturday morning to take the tidings to his elderly mother, Yvonne Laubscher.
    “She is 70 and her heart is shattered; she’s struggling to come to terms with the idea that her only son has died. She and Tommie were very close.”

    No funeral arrangements have been made yet.

    Randall Stoffels, police spokesperson in Cape Town, said a culpable homicide docket had been opened. There have been no arrests.

  10. Craven

    I still don’t get the hype that surrounds Etzebeth. He took up the ball about 5 times in the game and made about 5 yards and he lost the ball 3 times in contact.

    My thinking is that if you look at Coetzee that provided a lot of go forward ball is that he was one of the very few guys that used a handoff effectively. Vermeulen and Etzebeth goes in with their shoulders and legs – which especially Vermeulen did a lot – the problem with this is that you fall over and the second Argie that arrives gets his hands on the ball or the first guy stop you dead and the second guy comes in and smashes back the Bok ball carrier, which gives the third and fourth Argie at the ruck momentum to drive over the ball.


  11. Jacques

    What I’m talking about is ball carrying – in respect to Etzebeth and Vermeulen and Coetzee. It doesn’t matter what you position is – if you put yourself in a position to carry the ball the you have a responsibility to gain ground. If you can’t get go forward ball then put yourself behind a guy that can and rather help him go forward and clean.

    We have the same problem at our club level. There are some guys that can carry a ball and some guys that can’t. When a ruck is set up and you want to rumble it up again you get those guys that set themselves up with and eye for the gap – far enough from the ruck so that you don’t run into the pillars around the ruck and deep enough to build up some speed and try and get a mismatch – ie small flank vs big lock or something like that. But then you get some poepholle that then gets between the guy waiting for the ball and the scrummy – and then try to, from a standing start, bash over 2 props waiting for him and then gets held up and gets the ball stripped away from him by the opposition scrummy. Trust me – I saw that happen time and time again last season, and wanted to pull my hair out each time.


  12. @Methos The French Stormer: With you their boet, it is just that they have played that way forever, only thing is that they are getting caught out now.

    Agree fully with you on this, I think we are saying the same thing. The problem for me is not so much the player but the way our couches think they are teaching these okes the right way.

    I you look at the AB they do one crash ball and then put the next big dude in a gap we try and run every ball as the crash ball.

    That is also why our players get injured more than the Aussies and AB, but all of us have said this for long time now.

    If you can change a players way on national level is also a total different discussion as well and don’t know if it is possible.

    The best way to make the best forward ineffective in rugby is to make sure you do not give them go forward ball which the Argies done well the past two weeks.

    Don’t know if their is a quick fix at all for HM and the forwards here on that.

    In the scrums maybe different story, with so many referees not seeing props illegally scrumming in or are just to stupid to even see that a prop start before the engage with an angle, it is a hopeless case to debate.

    I feel for the Bokke scrum as I call it during the game that the Argie prop was going in on the angle 90% of the time and Steve is to stupid to see that.

    Jannie is past his sell by date for me but that is just me, maybe over played or what every but I recon we need to someone different. Who that is sorry I do not know but at this stage anyone is better than Jannie I think.