The scoreline speaks of a massacre, a thorough rugby lesson and a performance every coach would be proud of.
Not that Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was not impressed with his team’s 73-13 hammering of Argentina in their opening match of the Rugby Championship, but he has now thrown down the gauntlet to his team to repeat the performance on Saturday in Mendoza.
Meyer is not dismissing the brute force with which his team dismantled Argentina last Saturday but the secret to becoming a force in world rugby, Meyer believes, is in the Springboks being just as ruthless and clinical on the road.
Last year, the Springboks had an equally good start to the competition, even though not as emphatic, against Argentina with a 27-6 win in Cape Town before coming horribly unstuck in the battle of Mendoza, where they were fortunate to salvage a 16-all draw.
It was the Springboks failure to win on the road last season, as they lost to Australia and New Zealand away, that seems to have frustrated Meyer, and while the Springboks’ last loss came against the All Blacks at home in October, the time has come for them to stamp their authority on the competition, according to Meyer.
“I really believe we need to stay humble. We have learnt from the past that every single game is a new game. You have to keep your feet on the ground and work even harder.
“The one thing we are blessed with this year is continuity in the team. Last year this time, we were struggling after the England series and a lot of the guys were injured and we didn’t know where they stood.
“I believe this team has improved in how we handle pressure; especially with England away, we had to hang in.
“Even this year, we learnt more against Scotland coming from behind under pressure. I’m very happy with the set phases at this stage – I was worried about the scrums.
“The one thing we have improved probably 80 percent is taking our chances, but there were still two or three tries that lay around on Saturday that we should have finished.
“In the Rugby Championship, it is not always the team that plays the best rugby that wins. It’s the team that can handle the pressure. I was happy with our defence and the way we competed.
“If we get quick ball, we are a dangerous team like we showed in the last 30 minutes.
“But I still want to see more resilience and I want to see these guys under pressure and how they handle it.
“Saturday’s game was probably one of the best games I’ve been involved in because every single area was of a high standard.
“But I want to see that away from home, under pressure. That’s the thing I want to see from this team – that’s what they must show on Saturday before we play Australia and New Zealand.
“We have to put the same emphasis and the same clinical execution (into our game) away from home,” Meyer said yesterday.
If the Springboks can do as Meyer wants at the same venue where they were brought down to terra firma last year, then they will confirm that they are true title contenders along with the All Blacks. - The Star