Argentina have reasons to be positive
The brilliance that was the Pumas must be acknowledged. Their development side managed to dazzle in the Vodacom Cup a few years ago and some of those performers excelled a few years later. They made history for their country and beat the mighty Springboks.
Their attitude was massive and they managed to beat a side that pushed Australia and New Zealand to the death of games. A simple attitude change can make a huge difference. They showed hunger. Juan Imhoff was playing Vodacom rugby in 2011 and was joint top try scorer with a certain JJ Engelbrecht.
Fast track four years and you have the same player looking set to be a regular in his Pumas team while JJ is an outcast in his country. a player that has had a peripheral role in South African rugby. This highlights the development the Argentinians have been doing and will continue to. It has been coming; this win over South Africa.
A draw in Mendoza a few years ago, scrapping home last year. They have finally managed to go the extra mile. Argentina continue to move forward and despite 11 changes will be happy to say this- They had that first win in the Championship, they manage to get not just a five-pointer against the Springboks but managed to not finish bottom.
They will take lots of confidence to playing at home next week but what they have at the moment is this- a solid scrum (illegal scrumming? The poor prop played to the referee’s whistle just like a certain Pocock did 4 years ago) and a reliable goal kicker something the All Blacks and possibly South Africa are lacking. Kudos to the Pumas for recovering from All Black and Australian hammerings.
Go back to the tried and tested then… and Meyer? Meyer must stick to the plan
Well the truth is the Springboks will always be backing the players in the system and we cannot afford to lose to the Pumas next week. I will not say impossible, but it’s unacceptable.
Meyer will need to fast track Willem Alberts, Fourie du Preez and then hope and pray that Duane Vermeulen returns with some form on the opening day of the World Cup. These man on their day would have offered you with some go forward ball on Saturday but also some much needed composure.
What I will say is Faf de Klerk could have been the best option this weekend considering the number 9 offers a spark and pizzazz when with the ball. Look at the games played yesterday. How important where the scrumhalf’s?
Aaron Smith was brilliant but also costly with that yellow card of his; the Springbok number 9’s both let themselves and the side down, Australia’s Nic Phibbs had a shocker but his replacement rescued him with Nic White showing how important a live wire number 9 can be and Argentina? Tomas Cubelli, their nine was really good and played a key part in realising Juan in many occasions.
Sorting the half back issue will be important and the trip to Argentina will remind us were exactly we stand.
Whether we will crash and burn or the Springboks will get a miraculous recovery and mount a World Cup challenge Meyer must not deviate from his plan. Its too late to change everything from game plan to even calling the likes of Jaco Kriel.
I think we need to offer the rest of the squad an opportunity. Meyer has very little option really, unless he picks the same XV to pick themselves up? He will get a hammering from fans whether he does that or anything else. From my understanding it was always part of his plan to use everyone in the friendly game. So will he deviate thanks to this snag?
I hope not. Meyer must show character and back his guns. What type of coach is he? Last I checked he was a successful Bulls-style of rugby coach and this must mean he must get the players that suit this rugby. Go back to basics and do a few selection shake ups.
Bring in a hungry bunch of players to turn the heat up. Pat Lambie, Morne Steyn, Zane Kirchner, Lwazi Mvovo, Warren Whiteley to mention a few. Let them go out there and redeem this mess they dished up this weekend.
The absence of Jean de Villiers, Marcel Coetzee and Willie le Roux is the perfect opportunity; with just Marcel in form it could be of advantage to the Boks. The only concern is playing someone out of position.
Captain is up for grabs once again with Jean de Villiers set to be out for four to six weeks. So will Schalk who showed some short comings as skipper continue or will they throw the armband toward Fourie du Preez?
One game to get some confidence going or even get better combinations in order. Heyneke Meyer will need to prove his mastery in the next few weeks.