Rassie: Job not done for Boks

Rassie Erasmus breathed a sigh of relief after the Springboks ended their losing streak against Ireland in Pretoria, but expects a tougher challenge in the second Test.

The Springboks fought to claim a 27-20 victory over Ireland on Saturday night for their first win against the Emerald Greens since 2016.


Having gone ahead early through Kurt-Lee Arendse’s try, the Springboks never relinquished their lead, but faced a few nervy moments as Ireland threatened to snatch a comeback win.

“Overall, the goal was achieved but it was far from a perfect performance,” Erasmus said.

“Ireland are a team we’ve had zero success against since (we took over in) 2018 and the next worst record is against New Zealand – which is a 50% record – and they’ve really had our number.

“And there were instances where they came back so strongly and if they didn’t have one or two big injuries the game would have been much tighter.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a monkey off our back but it’s a really good competitive opponent, who are number two in the world, and any day they can step up and beat you and be number one.”

Siya Kolisi echoed Erasmus’ thoughts, with the Springbok captain adding that he expects Ireland to be better in the second Test and series decider in Durban next Saturday.

“Of course, this game was very important for us,” he said. “We haven’t beaten them since 2016, so it was special for our confidence. But the job is not done yet. We want to win the series and we know they are going to come back harder.

“Even in the game today it looked like we were going to pull away but they kept coming back so we know it is going to be another proper Test in Durban.”

The Springboks also scored a try through wing Cheslin Kolbe’s opportunism and were awarded a penalty try from a dominant scrum, as they implemented a new expansive gameplan from attack coach Tony Brown.

However, the drive for more width on attack also left the Springboks vulnerable at the breakdown and on defence, with Erasmus adding that it will take time for a balance to be found.

“I hope you can see we’re trying to develop our attacking game with the foundation that Felix (Jones) laid. With Tony (Brown) we’re trying to step up a little in certain areas and with that comes mistakes and lack of cohesion,” Erasmus explained.

“But saying that Ireland are not number two in the world for nothing and their defensive system is really sound. It was a very stop-start game, there was a two-minute delay here with either an injury or someone getting treated – it was no one’s fault – but for both teams it hampered momentum.

“Ireland will work out what we tried to do tonight, and we’re going to try and work out what they did because they also scored three tries.

“Next week I’ll expect the same from them – they’ll never give up and they’ll try to be more dominant.

They’ll be more settled in the second test – they were disrupted with injuries – but even when Cheslin scored his try [to make it 20-8] to put us in a strong position, they didn’t give up and even to the last second we were nervy about the game.”

Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Post by