Rassie Erasmus was pleased with the Springbok defence but frustrated by the misfiring attack in the big win against the Wallabies. JON CARDINELLI reports from Port Elizabeth.
‘We could have given them a hiding,’ said Erasmus in the wake of the 23-12 win against Australia.
The Boks created multiple scoring chances at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday. Ultimately, a two-try and 23-point return didn’t quite reflect their dominance.
Perhaps Erasmus’ post-match statement goes to show how far the Boks have come over the past two weeks. The players and coaches feel that there is room to improve after an 11-point win over the Wallabies. While the Boks did impress in some areas, there is a lot of work to do in others ahead of the Test against the All Blacks on 6 October.
‘We’re happy that we won, but it was frustrating in terms of how many points we left out there,’ said Erasmus. ‘We could have given them a good hiding if we had taken all our chances.
‘Our lineouts were poor in the first half. We had to make a lot of adjustments. We didn’t play well tactically in the second half. We will have to work on that.’
The Boks scored five tries against the All Blacks in Wellington two weeks ago. The famous win, however – South Africa’s first in New Zealand since 2009 – was built on gutsy defence.
The Boks worked hard to rush and hassle the Wallabies on Saturday. Erasmus said that, after eight Tests together, the players are coming to grips with the new defensive system.
‘It’s not something you get in a book or can learn at a training session. It’s only by making mistakes that we can learn … and eventually we should make fewer mistakes. We will get that right.
‘Siya Kolisi made a great spot tackle to save us. Sikhumbuzo Notshe too. Cheslin Kolbe made a lot of good tackles. Overall, we are getting the hang of it.’
Erasmus, of course, was speaking about the attacking and defensive performance at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the context of next week’s battle at Loftus Versfeld. The All Blacks will pose a greater threat than the battling Wallabies.
‘Next week, it’s going to be a tough challenge because New Zealand have faced our defence already [in this tournament]. They will make plans to adjust.
‘We scored five tries in the last game against the All Blacks. If we could do that again, it would be fantastic. The thing is, I think we created more chances in this game than we did in the game against the All Blacks.
‘If we had converted even one or two more chances, the game [in Port Elizabeth] may have gone differently. If we don’t convert those kinds of chances next week against the All Blacks, it will be tough to win.
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