Backed by an extremely vocal Argentine crowd, the Boks suffered an “embarrassing” defeat in Mendoza this past Saturday. Just a week ago, the Springboks beat the Puma’s 34-21 at Kings Park in Durban, but a physical Puma side made the statement that they are here to compete.
Argentina picked up their first four points of the competition with a final score of 32-19 against the Springboks. The Puma’s were utterly dominant with a half time lead of 27-7. The Boks seemed to put up a fight in the second half but ultimately failed to capitalize on missed opportunities. For the Pumas, this match served as more than a win over one of the greatest rugby nations, the victory was a psychological breakthrough as it marked the end of a 11-match losing streak.
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus acknowledged their drawbacks, saying “It was embarrassing and not the kind of performance you expect to see from the Springboks. We made only one change to the starting team from last week, when we dominated them. We have to point the fingers to ourselves, firstly as coaches and then as players, and we will have to fix it.”
The Springboks have a much tougher challenge ahead as they take on the Wallabies on September 8th. The Australian outfit showed signs of great strength against world number one, New Zealand. For this reason, Rassie Erasmus intends on taking no chances by recruiting veteran stalwart Duane Vermeulen. Vermeulen was left out of the squad due to obligations with his Japanese club team but Rassie looks determined on fielding his strongest team for the Australasia leg of the competition.
“We have to turn it around – we had certain plans we wanted to try against Australia but that is out the window now. We have to get back to winning ways and it is win at all costs now. This loss puts us back quite a bit. We wanted to win this game and then give a few guys a chance against Australia. We can’t do that now, we lost – so now we have to beat Australia.” said Erasmus.