South Africa need massive improvement

Date published: August 20 2016

After their last gasp win over Argentina, South Africa still have a long way to go before they can challenge for the Rugby Championship trophy.

It's a competition Heyneke Meyer failed to win during his tenure as coach and new coach Allister Coetzee might find it equally a daunting task to break the cycle.

Little progress seems to have been made since the series against Ireland in June. It must be a worrying sign for Coetzee, who is overseeing a rebuilding phase while trying to maintain positive results on the field.

On Saturday against Argentina, the Springboks had to rely on a last-minute try from Warren Whiteley to beat Argentina 30-23 in Nelspruit. They had to make a similar comeback against Ireland in the second June Test after losing the first game of that series. 

How many more times are Springbok fans going to have to suffer through these inept performances? This was South Africa's opportunity to make a statement and show they are title contenders. Instead, they battled through for 79 minutes before managing to avoid what would have been an embarrassing defeat.

Earlier on Saturday New Zealand humbled Australia 42-8 in Sydney. They are clearly still the best team in the world and one can only hope the Boks improve significantly before they face the All Blacks.

One of South Africa's biggest weaknesses seem to be a lack of patience in their build-up play, which is probably a result of the inexperience within the squad and the lack of real leaders.

While coaches will always point to the positives in winning a game while playing poorly, the flip side of that is that it papers over the cracks, although in this case no one should be under the allusion that the Boks are on the right path.

It is clearly going to take a while for this team to settle and get going but until they do we should probably get used to tight affairs like the one against Argentina, although South Africa might not always end up on the right side of the result.

by Kobus Pretorius