Springboks captain Siya Kolisi was delighted with the bonus point win against Argentina and underlined that his side has its sights set on the Rugby Championship title.
South Africa fought off a second-half surge from Argentina to win 36-20 in an exciting round five clash in the Rugby Championship.
All to play for
The win draws the Springboks level on points with leaders the All Blacks, who sit at the table’s summit because of superior points difference.
Kolisi praised his squad and management for their performance and looks forward to a sold-out Test in Durban next week.
“Our mindset was to come here and get maximum points, and even though the momentum changed in the game we always believed we could get the win, and we knew that involved using our opportunities,” Kolisi said.
“We had a good start to the game and Argentina came back nicely.
“But the biggest thing was to stick together as a group, and we said we want to win the Rugby Championship no matter what is going on around us.
“This is a special group of players.
“The coaches believe in us, and we believe in ourselves, and we have ambitions of doing much more.
“I’ve heard the match in Durban is sold out and we are excited to get home for a big game next week. We are looking forward to it.”
The important win did come at a cost for coach Jacques Nienaber as stand-in fly-half Damian Willemse was removed from the field after a head knock, adding further strain to his limited options at pivot.
“I have yet to speak to the medical staff about Damian’s injury,” Nienaber said.
“We will assess the injuries in the next two days and then make decisions on whether we have to bring in players next week.
“We only arrive in South Africa in the early hours of Monday, so it will be a short week for us but both teams will be in the same situation, so we will be on level playing field.”
Frustration over reports
Nienaber expressed frustration around the allegation of some players testing positive for cocaine. The 49-year-old was particularly upset with the report’s timing – only hours before kick-off.
“I find it quite disturbing. Especially the timing of it, before a big Test like this [that] was like a semi-final,” Nienaber said. “I’m literally stunned that allegations like that can be made about this team.
“We are tested like any other team. We are tested regularly, sometimes three times a week in SA. There hasn’t been one positive test since we’ve been together this year. It’s disappointing.
“Five hours before [kick-off]. The timing was strategically planned by whoever. It was disappointing but we are stronger together. It is what it is.
“There is nothing we could have done about that. The narrative that is being driven we can’t control. We can only control what we can and that is to play rugby.”