Springbok coach Allister Coetzee praised the team’s planning and the players’ conditioning following their 41-23 bonus point win over the Pumas on Saturday evening in Salta, Argentina.
Siya Kolisi (2), Elton Jantjies and Jean-Luc du Preez scored tries for the visitors, while the Springboks were also awarded a second half penalty try. South Africa defeated the Pumas by 37-15 in Port Elizabeth last weekend and have nine points from their first two Castle Lager Rugby Championship matches.
The Springboks played in red jerseys to celebrate 25 years of rugby unity in South Africa and their away win over Argentina was their fifth successive victory from as many Tests this season.
Speaking to the media after the match in Salta, Coetzee was full of praise for the team’s preparation plan for the difficult away match in Salta, where the Boks lost last year.
“We changed our travel plan to Salta this year, preparing for two days in South Africa before flying to Argentina on the Wednesday, which is also our off day,” said Coetzee.
“Then I must add that the players looked after themselves in terms of their conditioning and recovery, and here our medical and conditioning staff deserve a good mention. We want to play with a high intensity and our players have a very high work rate.”
The Springbok forwards once more did a sterling job, delivering solid performances in scrums and lineouts, while the maul was one of the Boks’ main attacking weapons in the second half.
“Our plan was definitely to use the maul against them,” explained Coetzee.
Apart from the careful planning and good preparation, Coetzee also lauded the leadership of the team: “I think the key for winning today was leadership, the way our players showed calmness and character under pressure. There is a strong leadership group around our captain Eben Etzebeth.”
Flanker Kolisi, who is also the vice-captain, was awarded the Man of the Match award for his impressive performance in the No 6 jersey.
The home team also had to play parts of the match with only 14 men after lock Tomas Lavanini was shown a second yellow card, and resultant red, for a deliberate knock-down.
It was only the second time in history that the Boks had won five successive Tests by 15 or more points. The only other time was between the end of 1997 and the inbounds of 1998 when Nick Mallett’s team beat France 52-10, England 29-11 and Scotland 58-10, and the first four Tests of 1998 against Ireland (37-13 and 33-0), Wales (96-13) and England (18-0).
It was also only the second time ever that the Boks had scored four of more tries and 35 or more points in five successive Tests.
Equally impressive is Jantjies’ kicking record, which now stands at 89% in the last six Tests (34 successful kicks out of 38), all of which he had started.
The Springboks return to South Africa on Tuesday morning and will have a couple of days to recover before getting together on Friday for their two away matches against the Wallabies and All Blacks.