Thinus Delport: Springbok forwards need to get back to their winning ways
By Thinus Delport
Last Updated: 05/09/14 5:16pm
Thinus Delport says that the Springbok tight five will be out to prove a point against Australia on Saturday.
"Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will be relieved that his side managed to escape from Salta with a win.
"Argentina were excellent and should have claimed not only their first win against the Springboks but their first win in the Rugby Championship. I have never seen a Bok pack pushed around like that and we shall see how much menatl damage that has done when they take on Australia on Saturday.
"South Africa traditionally are the masters of the scrum and they pride themselves on the set-pieces, that game against Argentina was a massive wake-up call and they really need to re-group and come back even harder against the Wallabies. Argentina have a very good pack with plenty of experience and Marcos Ayerza did an absolute demolition job on Jannie Du Plessis and then on Frans Malherbe when he came on.
"I am not sure if Ayerza was always legal, he sometimes went for the short bind and did not always come in square but it was one heck of a performance from the Puma loosehead prop. It was disappointing that the Springboks were not able to adjust to what was happening – that put their whole game plan under pressure. South Africa could not get their attack going which, until these two games against Argentina, had been a real strength of the South African game.
"The Boks may have won the game but they will need to rebuild their confidence ahead of Australia. They would have spent a lot of time on the scrummaging machine and doing some live scrumming just to get their confidence back. Australia’s scrum was put under enormous pressure by the All Blacks in their game so they are not necessary the biggest scrummaging opposition in world rugby. I think this game would be a good one for the forwards to really attack and build their confidence.
It was disappointing that the Springboks were not able to adjust to what was happening – that put their whole game plan under pressure.
"Behind the scrum it has been tough for Handre Pollard in the No.10 shirt. His debut against Scotland was excellent because he was behind such a dominant pack, however so far he has not had that forward dominance and has not been able to control the game the way he should have. I think in both the Puma Tests when Morne Steyn came on, the Boks looked much more settled and I think while Pollard is a very exciting talent, he needs to work on his game control.
"I can imagine it was a difficult choice for Meyer to drop Pollard from the starting 15 but I think Steyn will help settle the forwards which adds to that confidence theme that they will need on Saturday.
"The other area for concern was outside centre where I think Damian de Allende had some nice touches but he missed a few tackles and made some errors that cost South Africa. I know it’s difficult for backs when your forwards are not going forward. Jan Serfontein coming in at 12 means that Jean De Villiers moves to that outside centre and these two will give much more stability.
"However this weekend is all about the Bok forwards. They need to stand their ground – and we know they can do it and one poor showing does not make them a bad pack. They have an opportunity on Saturday to get their standing back and show that they are no pushovers."