2018 Rugby Championships

Argentina 32 vs South Africa 19

Saturday 25th August 2018


Venue: Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Last week it was the Wallabies that had talked the talk in the run-up to their first Test against the All Blacks, and then had to walk away somewhat shamefacedly after being handed a rugby lesson in Sydney.

This week it is the turn of the Springboks.

In the days before the Test in Mendoza the normally reticent Springboks were happy to talk to journalists, telling everyone that they could expect a massive encounter over the loose ball and that the Springboks were up for it. We were told that they were fully focussed and ready for the Argentineans, they were going make a massive statement of intent.  They told as that they were going to play this game with total commitment and plenty of intent. They were going to fix the mistakes of the first half in Durban.

We were assured that complacency was not a factor.

Pity then, that they did not walk-the-walk, after all that talk.

When we were expecting an energised and focussed Springbok effort, we were rewarded with an almost lethargic, disinterested display of inaccuracy and unfocussed errors one might expect from a fatigued team at the end of a very long campaign.

The Springbok forwards were slow to the rucks, offering none of the contest we had been promised, and were consequently easily out-played by the Pumas at the breakdowns. The lack of focussed support resulted in powderpuff contests in the collisions, and unfocussed and disorganised mauls.

The scrums struggled to settle, somehow finding it difficult to understand Angus Gardiner’s scrum management style, while seeming to have forgotten the basics of an eight-man contest, with the loose-forwards lifting heads too soon, robbing the tight-five of the secondary shove support they needed. Francois Louw was the main culprit as he often not only lifted his head to inspect proceedings, but also broke away from the scrums much too early.

Once again, the deep throw at the lineout malfunctioned, with Guido Petti able to get up and intercept the ball almost at will. This time, however, the problem was not with Warren Whiteley’s jump timing. Rather it was with the height of Malcolm Marx’s throw. He was simply getting it wrong. He was throwing the ball harder, and flatter, than necessary, making it very simple for Petti to time his jump,  when all it required to prevent the steal was the old-fashioned lob throw to the back of the lineout.

Quite why the Springbok lineout callers persist with the deep throw when it is not working remains a mystery – the middle and front throw was working like clockwork.

The biggest problem with the Springbok effort was the lack of presence over the loose-ball. In the game in Durban, Francois Louw and Malcolm Marx completely dominated the breakdowns, shutting out Augustin Creevy and his cohorts. This week it seemed as if that strategy had been abandoned. Whereas the combination of Louw and Marx had worked together the previous week, they now seemed to be working in isolation from each other. If one went in to contest the ball, the other stayed out of the collision. Where the first to arrive had worked to loosen the ball and the second had worked to get a grip on the ball a week ago, this week they simply did not do that at all. Malcolm Marx in particular, just seemed to prefer to hang out of the contact situations more often than not. It was strange to watch him not doing that which we all know is one of his major strengths in the game.

A week ago the Springbok tight five had hunted as a pack. It was almost a return to the olden days where you could “throw a blanket” over all five as they worked as a unit. This week they seemed to scatter to the four corners of the field, with very little in terms of focussed support play. Perhaps part of the problem is the lack of match fitness evident in the likes of Eben Etzebeth. His efforts in Durban seemed to have drained him as he struggled to impose himself on the game this week. This was not unexpected, last week’s performance was truly magnificent, after nine months out of the game. This week he clearly suffered for that massive effort.

The same should perhaps be said of Frans Malherbe – last week he was very very good, and this week he seemed tired and slow.

The lack of game-time was evident in both these members of the tight five and, I would suggest, equally visible in the game played by Francois Louw.

Match fitness aside, the real problem seemed to be a lack of cohesion and focus amongst the big men.

Despite the evident problems, the forwards held their own in most phases of the game. Winning six scrums and taking a tighthead off the Pumas, they set up, and won 114 rucks, without losing one. There were 20 good lineout throws, 14 won cleanly and 6 going into the maul. Two lineouts were stolen when thrown to the back. In contrast the Pumas had 10 good lineout throws, and took 6 cleanly, but lost the other four to errors.

If we turn our focus to the back division, we have to wonder what happened to the midfield and the wings?

The midfield seemed to have gone soft, in a strange way, as both players actually made most of their tackles, Am making 9 and missing 1, while Esterhuizen made 3, and missed none. Yet their presence on defence was often lacking. They were defending on the wrong line. Their positional play seemed to have evaporated as both centres drifted out of alignment time and again, both horizontally across the field as well as vertically along the length of the field. They seemed to be missing in action at times. Out wide the two wings (Mapoe, perhaps excusable as a redeployed reserve) also seemed to be at odds with the very basics of defensive alignment and maintaining position on the field. Both drifted in off the wing far too many times. Willie le Roux was also having an off-day on defence, and actually slipped two tackles.

However, it was not only on defence that the back division was missing.

Their running, passing and offloading skills had deserted them completely.

Some of their passing movements seemed to be simply mindless movement of the ball out wide with no attempt to attack the gain line, straighten the attack, or take the ball into or through the tackle. At half-time Nick Mallett suggested that Willie le Roux had played 40 minutes of non-contact rugby. He was correct, but not just Willie was at fault – the entire backline seemed to be intent on avoiding contact.

Now this is a very good ploy if your intention is to avoid contact in order to keep the ball alive and moving forwards. That is the way the All Blacks play rugby. But there has to be intent and focus – the entire strategy is based on going forwards with the ball. The Springbok backs were guilty of doing the exact opposite. They were mindlessly shovelling the ball backwards and sideways, with no attempt whatsoever at attacking the gain line. Some of the efforts seemed to be over-expansive and designed to razzle-dazzle rather than take the ball forward.

Many of the younger players have developed the habit of hesitating and stepping or jinking, even selling an almost obligatory dummy, before they set off on the run. I call it the “hesitation waltz” of rugby. It is amateurish, almost arrogant, as they seem to expect the opposition to be put-off or fooled by the momentary hesitation and jink. Both Aphiwe Dyantyi and Lukhanyo Am tried it time and again on Saturday. It did not work.  If they think a Test level professional is going to buy the dummy, they have a long way to go on the learning curve. The hesitation waltz moment is all that a committed defender, focussed on the modern rush defence system, needs to close down a ball carrier and snuff out any attempt at expansive play.

The Argentineans used the rush defence to good effect, causing the Springbok midfield to scramble their passes, and this immediately led to inaccuracy as rushed passes went astray time and again. Too many passes were flung without any thinking behind the pass.

The problem was also evident on attack, when patience and thought were abandoned in favour of rushed passes and inaccuracy.

On defence, the entire backline lost all the shape and structure that had been evident in the better segments of last week’s game and in the final hour of each of the games which the Springboks won against England. There seemed to be a distinct lack of focus and purpose on defence, resulting in 12 missed tackles or missed tackle opportunities in the first half. (A tackle opportunity missed is counted as one that should have been made, but the designated player was out of position or on the ground.)

When Argentina went into the half-time break with a 27-7 lead many were thinking back to the Springbok comebacks in previous games in 2018, but this time it was not to be. Once again, in the second half the team was plagued by inaccuracy and a lack of simple, clinical rugby. It was over-elaborate, over-expansive, and often over-speculative. It was as if they expected the Argentineans to be happy with a half-time lead and then roll over and play dead as the Boks cruised back to win the game.

The “over” nature of the Springbok game can be read from the statistics. The Springboks carried the ball 141 times, making 798 meters with the ball in hand. (Some stats say 857 meters, but that seems to include the lineout drives and mauls as ball-carrying meters.) The Springboks threw 191 passes and 16 offloads. 173 passes went to hand, the others resulted in balls going astray or were called back for being forward. 2 of the offloads went astray.

The Springboks took the ball beyond 7 phases 6 times, and set up 114 rucks.

Playing such an elaborate and expansive game style requires speed and accuracy, and that is where the Springboks let themselves down badly.

In Durban the Springboks had recycled the ruck ball at a quick 1,5 to 2,5 seconds, allowing the backs to run off the quick ball and causing defensive disarray amongst the Pumas. This week the recycled ball was much slower, taking between 3,5 and 4 seconds to emerge from the rucks. Evidence of the effectivity of the Argentinean efforts to slow the ball down and the Springbok’s inaccuracy with the clean-out and ball control.

You simply cannot run off slow ruck ball. Period. The fault did not lie with Faf de Klerk as another rugby writer has suggested, one could see him getting increasingly frustrated by the slow ball arriving at the base of the ruck. The problem was with the disjointed efforts of the forwards in cleaning-out the rucks, and the lack of focus from the loose-trio.

If we take our analysis of the Springboks’ over-expansive game a step further, consider that the Argentineans only carried the ball 79 times, making just 480 meters with the ball in hand. They were simply far more clinical and controlled on the day.

As ex-coach Nick Mallett said: “It was an error-ridden performance, in that first half especially. On attack, in the second half, we had a number of opportunities that we managed to mess up. It was a very disappointing game.

‘We have to give a lot of credit to Argentina. We speak about their physicality and they certainly showed that, on defence in particular. They showed a lot of skill on attack, some great passing and the try they scored just after half-time was the nail in the coffin.

‘The three tries in the first half were off our defensive errors and that really shouldn’t happen at this level.”

The difference between the two teams from one week to the next was simple. Argentina addressed and fixed their problems, the Springboks didn’t.

Looking at some individuals:

Handré Pollard missed two goalable kicks which would normally not be a major issue for any flyhalf in the world. The problem is that these two missed kicks come on the back of missing 5 out of 7 the previous week, and seemed to have a dampening effect on the flyhalf. He never seemed to fully regain his confidence, not just with the boot, but in terms of his game management too. Once again there will be calls for the return of Elron Jantjies, yet we have seen him implode far more spectacularly and consistently in all aspects of his game rather than Pollard with just the kicking yips. Perhaps a case should be made for allowing Faf de Klerk to take some of the kicks, simply to take the weight off Pollard’s shoulders? De Klerk is the primary goal-kicker for his club, Sale Sharks.

Warren Whiteley is a committed player who always give his all. Sadly, I do not believe that he has been able to make the step up to the international stage successfully. As an eighthman he had no influence on last week’s game in Durban, and even less influence on the game this week. Sure he made his tackles, he always makes his tackles. But as a number 8 he was invisible as the link between forwards and backs, he was particularly ineffective as a ball carrier, often getting thumped back in the tackle. As the game progressed he began to play the “Pierre Spies” style of pick up and run, drifting wider and wider with the ball in hand, but not making any progress down-field. In a final indictment, he makes very little effort over the loose-ball and at breakdowns. Another rugby writer has suggested he as the best Springbok forward in Mendoza. I would beg to differ.

Andre Esterhuizen is not the inside centre solution for South Africa. He is completely one-dimensional with zero creativity in his game. He is a crash-ball runner, and nothing else. He does not look to link with supporting players and runs into contact in an upright position, which makes him vulnerable to having the ball stripped, or being held up in the tackle to create a maul turnover. He made just 3 tackles on Saturday and must take a large portion of the blame for the Springbok backline’s misalignment on defence. He ran the “inside“ (also known as the “outside shoulder”) line on his opponent, attempting to force him back infield and into the loose-forwards covering across. This necessarily sucks his outside centre partner inwards, and results in wings drifting to maintain their position too. The end result was space created out wide. A second issue with this defensive line is that it creates space immediately behind himself and his centre partner, as they are turning across and facing into the attack, which makes it very difficult to turn if an opponent gets outside him/them.

The Starting Front Rows South Africa is blessed with at least two quality props in each of the tighthead and loosehead positions. Last week the Beast and Malherbe played their hearts out and created dominance over the Argentinean pack. This week both looked a little fatigued and unfocussed. Why did Erasmus not rotate his resources from the kick-off? Kitshoff and Louw were fresh and ready and immediately established dominance when they came onto the field, But it was too late. A lesson learned, Rassie?

Nicolas Sanchez. When he is cold, he is terrible, when he is hot he is simply sublime. This week Sanchez was simply sublime. He scored a try, conversion, penalty and drop-goal in a masterclass of flyhalf play. He was at the root pf every Argentinean attack, and was there when the ball was recycled and needed to be played on. He was the catalyst of all that was good about this Test for his team.

Augustin Creevy handed out a master-class of game management as he engineered and directed his entire team’s efforts to slow the game down to their own pace, robbing the Springboks of the element of surprise with quick ball. He managed the referee in a manner last seen from Sean Fitzpatrick for the All Backs, getting the referee to agree with him, even when he was palpably taking a chance. It was nods, smiles, winks, and rueful grins. There were apologies for arriving late at the scrum or the lineout. An apologetic hand raised if somebody did something wrong. And the constant questions about the legality of play over the breakdown. It was masterful.

Angus Gardiner is probably one of the top five referees in the world today. Yet he was “managed” by Augustin Creevy to the point that he could be said to have been a “hometown” referee in certain aspects of his officiating. He simply ignored the offside line at the rucks, allowing the Puma defenders to creep past the last feet and take up station as much as two meters offside. He missed kick-chasers who were in front of the kicker, and he frequently missed the mark with players not retreating after a kicked the ball above the forwards. The inexplicable scrum penalty against the Springboks, awarded for Frans Malherbe having a hand on the ground after the ball was out was questionable at best.

Of course, the “blame” for the Springbok display, or lack thereof, does not rest with the referee. The Springboks were their own worst enemies, and it was their own lack of focus and clinical intent, together with a somewhat lackadaisical approach and weird tactical decisions that cost them the game. The Argentineans outmuscled and outthought the Springboks.

Individual Player Ratings

 South Africa

15 Willie le Roux: 5/10

I am not sure what to make of this performance. After some superlative performances in the Bok jersey it seemed as if Willie was hesitant and a little tentative. The precision he brought in the England series, and last week, seemed to desert him at times.  Passed the ball 19 times, with two going forward. Made no line breaks, made two tackles and missed two. Carried the ball 7 times, but made just 22 meters with the ball in hand. Lacked authority under the high ball on one occasion, where he seemed to think Faf de Klerk was going to catch the ball when he was the player coming forward and de Klerk was rrtreating. Made up for some of his indecisiveness with two great assists in the Bok tries. Not a great day at the office.

14 Makazole Mapimpi: No Rating

Left the field after 11 minutes with an injury. Not enough time to be rated.

13 Lukhanyo Am: 3/10

As good as he was last week, as bad as he was this week. Passed the ball 8 times, of which only four were good passes. Too many forward passes! Made 9 tackles and missed just 1, but that does not tell the whole story as he was caught out of position on no less than four occasions by Puma counter-attacks. (Got pulled inwards on defence, rather than staying in his channel.) Held onto a ball that should have gone out wide, and then died with it, when a clear scoring opportunity had opened for his wing. Far too many hesitation-waltz steps and jinks before running with the ball. Two handling errors and was turned over twice. A really bad day at the office.

12 André Esterhuizen: 4/10

All brawn and zero creativity. Some great tackles, and a couple of (very predictable) crash/bash runs. Carried the ball 14 times, but made just 85 meters with the ball in hand, despite two tacklebreaks. Passed the ball just 5 times, one of which went astray. Indicative of his lack of linking play is that 9 ball carries ended up as rucks. Carried the ball very upright, which lent to being isolated and held up in the tackle, and exposed him to a solid midriff tackle.

11 Aphiwe Dyantyi: 4/10

Yet another of the younger generation of South African players who have fallen into the habit of a step-and-a-jink before committing to running with the ball. Kicked the ball away somewhat needlessly when the Argentineans were running out of defenders. Was turned over in the tackle a whopping four times. One line-break, but was horribly exposed on defence, making two tackles but being caught out of position no less than four times.

10 Handré Pollard: 4/10

His goal-kicking is still a concern, missing a conversion and a simple penalty kick. Not quite as calm as he usually is, seemed a bit hurried and harried. More accurate on the pass than some, made 14 passes of which two were misdirected, a good offload too.   Took the ball to the line 11 times, making 69 meters. Conceded a silly penalty. Missed a tackle, badly, but made 6.

9 Francois de Klerk: 5/10

A busy day, but not quite as influential as in previous games. His box-kicking was fair, but a couple were just too far or too close, lacked the pinpoint accuracy needed. Passed the ball 90 times, with just one pass going astray. Missed one tackle. He tried hard and seemed to get frustrated by the lack of flow from his team-mates, which resulted in too many solo efforts rather than game management.

8 Warren Whiteley: 4/10

A complete lack of a physical presence from the number 8. Carried the ball 10 times, but made just 44 meters. Many of his carries were going sideways until he was stopped in the tackle. No penetration, and very little linking play with his backs. Made 5 tackles and missed none. Whilst he diligently tried to make some clean-outs at the rucks, much of it was ineffectual as his lack of brawn counted. Did not attempt to take a turnover at all. It seemed that the Bok pack functioned better while he was off the field getting patched up!

7 Siya Kolisi 4/10

Lack of game time as a blind-sider was very evident as he struggled to fit into the role. Many of his best moments were in the ball carrying and linking role one expects from an opensider! Some superb breaks in the first half, including a 14th-minute try. Very good passing and offloading skills. Did not bring any grunt to the close in carrying job of a blind-sider, and his defence was as bad as he has ever produced. Not that he missed any tackles, it was that he was missing when the tackle should have been made!

6 Francois Louw: 3/10

Seemed to be in a bit if a daze for part of the game – as if he was out from a Sunday afternoon stroll after a very good lunch. Missed an easy tackle, but was missing in action at other times, caught on the wrong foot and not even able to slip off the tackle as he was left in the dust. No impact over the ball either.

5 Franco Mostert: 5/10

His lack of real heavy physicality was exposed despite his total commitment until he ran out of lungs. Good on defence, plenty of carrying but with little penetration, good in the line-outs, and good cleaning at the rucks.

4 Eben Etzebeth: 3/10 

Seemed to be fatigued after last week’s heroic performance, which is not unexpected after 9 months off the field. A rather harsh yellow card, considering the number of similar offences referee Gardiner allowed elsewhere during the game. Got slower and unfocussed as the time ticked on, and was subbed early. Missed his mongrel in the lineout contests though.

3 Frans Malherbe: 4/10

Much like Etzebeth, his lack of real match fitness was exposed in this game. He just could not reproduce the dominance of a week earlier. Simply faded out of the game in the latter 20 minutes of his spell on the field.

2 Malcolm Marx: 5/10

Seemed to lack focus and efficiency this week. Just not quite on point with his carrying, and somewhat invisible over the ball. On a number of occasions he seemed hesitant to go for the breakdown ball, hanging out of contact, which is most unusual for the big man. Did not make a single turnover. His long-throw lineouts to the back were picked off a couple of times by the high leaps of the Argie locks, which suggests that he is not getting enough elevation and drop on the throw. Carried the ball 14 times, for 72 meters, but burst a tackle just once. Missed two tackles.

1 Tendai Mtawarira: 3/10

His worst game of the year. Simply invisible throughout the time he was on the field. None of last week’s carrying, tackling, or cleaning out. Looked tired.


16 Bongi Mbonambi (on for Marx, 72nd min):

Not enough time to be rated.

17 Steven Kitshoff 5/10 (on for Mtawarira, 43rd min):

Immediate stability in the scrums after he took the field. Worked hard in the loose, made a couple of good tackles, but also caught the inaccuracy disease that seemed to plague the entire team.

18 Wilco Louw 6/10 (on for Malherbe, 63rd min):

Made a massive difference in the scrums, gaining dominance immediately. Tackled like a Trojan, made some massive clean-outs. Good support in the lineouts.

19 Rudolph Snyman 4/10 (on for Whiteley, 53rd min for blood; then subbed Mostert when Whiteley returned):

Invisible, for the most part, although he made one or two good short carries with offloads as he carried the ball a total of 5 times. One tackle.

20 Pieter-Steph du Toit 7/10 (on for Etzebeth, 47th min):

Best Springbok on the day. Massive work-rate, good carrying, huge cleanouts, thunderous tackles (missing two) and some of the mongrel the rest of the team had left in the kennel.

21 Embrose Papier:

Not used.

22 Lionel Mapoe 5/10 (replaced Mapimpi, 11th min):

Good finishing when given the opportunity. Carried the ball 5 times for 42 meters. Made 3 good tackles, but was missing from his wing on three occasions.

23 Damian Willemse 6/10 (on for Esterhuizen, 63rd min):

Brought some much needed enterprise to the midfield when he arrived, but seemed a little over-eager at times, getting ahead of the ball on occasion. 1 tackle break and 1 line break as he carried the ball three times for 39 meters. Should have been given more game time.


15 Emiliano Boffelli: 5/10

Solid under the high ball. Dangerous with the ball in hand. Carried the ball just 3 times, but made 30 metres. Made 1 tackle, missed one.

14 Bautista Delguy: 7/10

Gave the Springb0oks the slip almost every time he touched the ball. Very dangerous on attack, deserved his two tries.  Missed a couple of tackles of his won.

13 Matías Moroni: 6/10

A much better effort as he carried the ball with intent. His tackling also stepped up a couple of notches.

12 Bautista Ezcurra: 6/10

Kept Andre Esterhuizen in his cage, shutting him down time and again. Some silly moments with the ball in hand, some good ones.

11 Ramiro Moyano: 6/10

Exposed Lionel Mapoe’s lack of game time on the wing by easily cutting the line out wide. Made his tackles.

10 Nicolás Sánchez: 8/10

When he is hot, he is boiling hot. As poor as he was a week ago, that is how good he was this week. Superb game management, pinpoint tactical kicking, and great passing. Best of the Pumas on the day and my Man of the Match.

9 Gonzalo Bertranou: 5/10

Good service, great defensive effort, tested the Bok’s close in a couple of times.

8 Javier Ortega Desio: 7/10

A different player just one week on. Massive carries, lots of running meters, great tackles, great clean-outs, and one turnover.

7 Marcos Kremer: 6/10

Stepped up a couple of gears with great presence over the ball and lost of committed chasing. Made some good tackles, but missed a lot too. 5/10

6 Pablo Matera: 6/10

Contributed to the overall effort to slow the game down, both of the ground and in between set-pieces. Very good at the breakdown. Carried the ball well.

5 Tomás Lavanini: 6/10

Huge on defence, made all his tackles. Massive at the breakdowns. A solid shift.

4 Guido Petti: 5/10

Poached the Bok lineout ball with ease. Rest of his game a bit anonymous in a team effort of good quality. Missed a lot of tackles and was lucky to stay on the field for indiscretions after a team warning by the ref.

3 Juan Figallo: 5/10

Scrummed well, strong in the tackle, good clean-outs. Not much more.

2 Agustín Creevy: 8/10

He was the master of the game, slowing it down tie and again, using very trick in the book to convince the referee that he was cooperating, but kept on slowing the whole thing down. Hands on the ball, often illegally, to prevent the Bok quick recycle. Stepped out of the scrum, went down for a breather, arrived late at the set-piece, grinning and apologising to the ref. Asked questions all the tie. He drew the sting, and the purpose out of the Bok game. Everything else he did was simply a bonus.

1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro: 5/10

Scrummed well, made his tackles, and worked at slowing the ball.


16 Facundo Bosch (on for Creevy, 77th min):

Not enough time to be rated.

17 Santiago García Botta 4/10 (on for Chaparro, 64th min):

Struggled in the scrums and was invisible elsewhere.

18 Santiago Medrano (on for Figallo, 69th min):

Not enough time to be rated.

19 Matias Alemanno (on for Lavanini, 72nd min):

Not enough time to be rated.

20 Tomás Lezana 6/10 (on for Matera, 69th min):

Massive on defence when the Boks were piling on the pressure. Great work over the ball. Stopped the Bok surge in its tracks.

21 Tomás Cubelli (on for Bertranou, 70th min):

Not enough time to be rated.

22 Jerónimo de la Fuente 5/10 (on for Moyano, 58th min):

Invisible, except for a couple of good, direct, carries.

23 Juan Cruz Mallia (on for Ezcurra, 80th min):

Not enough time to be rated.

The scorers:

For Argentina:
Tries: Delguy 2, Sanchez, Moyano
Cons: Sanchez 3
Pen: Sanchez
Drop goal: Sanchez

For South Africa:
Tries: Kolisi, Mapoe 2
Cons: Pollard 2
Yellow Card: Etzebeth


Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi (c), 6 Francois Louw, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Damian Willemse




  1. Another excellent analysis Bill. (And I have read some pretty crumby ones from other “writers”).

    Let’s start with this Angus fella. He had a shocker. I, too cannot say that we lost because of him, but the way he allowed the Argies to creep up over the off-side line had a massive impact. And our guys seemed too naïve to find a way of dealing with it both in terms of our captain demanding that the officials police it better and the players “adapting”. Great line speed from your opposition and/or being over the off-side line demand a change of plan and simply dropping deeper is not it!

    Sanchez is a great little fly-half. But he is little, so run at him! Use grubbers into space. Use the inside pass. There are ways!

    From the get go our defensive shape left much to be desired. As with tests earlier this year there were gaps on the outside the entire game. Wrong tactics or personnel? I think a bit of both. We have wings who would rather “assist” the 13 in a tackle than go for their own man. These two guys may be quick, but their defensive frailties make them liabilities. And then there is the issue of them kicking away the ball. Why? To me it is timid and amateurish.

    Finding a loose trio that work together is becoming a problem. And without Thor, we look lightweight. Although he is a great lock I am becoming more convinced that Pieter-Stef should play blind-side.

    Are we expecting too much from Marx? He must stabilise (and hook in) the scrum, be perfect in the line-out throws and be a major source of ball snaffling. He has done this all very well, but are we over-dependent? (This could be an article for you to ponder?)

    The Beast vs Kitshoff – Whilst the former was excellent the previous match surely he needs some rotation? How motivated is our redhead getting less than a half each week?

    I look forward to your sentiments and views on selection ahead of the Aussie game