Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi both admitted that they got the Rugby Championship bonus-point rule wrong in their 32-12 win over Argentina on Saturday.
The Springboks scored three tries and conceded none to claim a full house of points in their Rugby Championship opener in Gqeberha, despite fielding a much-changed starting lineup from the third Test against the British & Irish Lions a week ago.
However, it appeared that the Boks had their wires crossed when, after debutant scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse scored their third try in the final minute of play, Morne Steyn rushed a drop kick conversion so that the hosts would have enough time to potentially score a fourth try.
The Rugby Championship bonus-point rules state that the winning team only needs to score three more tries than their opponents to secure an extra log point, so Steyn could have taken his time with his conversion, which would have seen the clock pass the fulltime mark.
However, Nienaber and Kolisi admitted in the post-match press conference that they both mistakenly believed that they needed four tries for the bonus point, hence Steyn rushing the conversion.
It’s a move that could have potentially backfired, had Argentina been able to win the ball back from the subsequent kick-off.
“Yeah, I thought we needed four tries,” Kolisi said, with a hint of a smile.
Nienaber then also said: “That’s my bad. I’ll get better at that.”
Kolisi added that he was proud that the Boks managed to keep their composure to score the third try, especially after having one chalked off by the TMO in the 71st minute for an earlier infringement.
“That’s what I love about this team,” he said.
“There are no real senior players, everyone has their job. We have different pressure points and we don’t panic. If something goes wrong at a scrum or a ruck or a score, everyone gets summoned and we talk about it quickly.”
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