Pretoria – Argentina let a golden opportunity slip to at least earn a draw against the Springboks on South African soil, coach Daniel Hourcade said after a 13-6 defeat at Loftus Versfeld, in Pretoria on Saturday.
“We complicated things for them in the lineouts, but we are not happy because it is a game that we had the possibility of getting a draw and we didn’t do it,” Hourcade said.
“There are very few opportunities where you have to win against South Africa and we think this was one of the opportunities and we let them past.”
Torrential rain in the capital city proved to be a great equaliser and, after conceding a try two minutes into the match, Argentina did well to keep South Africa at arm’s length.
The soaking conditions made handling extremely difficult and both teams saw scoring opportunities lost en route to the tryline.
For a large part of the encounter, the Boks held a seven-point advantage over the tourists but, as the match drew to a close, the visitors threatened to level the scores.
The final 10 minutes developed into a tense arm-wrestle as Argentina chipped away at the Boks’ defences and into their half.
Argentina set up two attacking lineouts, just metres from the Springboks’ tryline and came painstakingly close to scoring.
A charge down the inside of South Africa’s 22 metre line nearly led to a try until debutante Damian de Allende snatched the ball from a charging Argentine player’s reaching hands inside the goal area.
Hourcade said he expected the conditions to favour South Africa but he praised his charges for the way they responded to the inclement weather.
“We expected the weather conditions to be better for the South African forwards pack and we played a very good game,” he said.
The Argentine mentor, however, said he believed the Springboks’ vulnerability in the lineouts and the scrums were a once-off and expected an improved South Africa when they meet again next week in Salta.
“Only today they were vulnerable, but they did not have a good game that is why we were not happy because we had an opportunity to draw the game,” he said.
Argentinean captain Augustin Creevy said although they had the hosts’ number in certain facets of play, they needed to be even better for next week.
“We approach all games like a final and we had a very good game but we have to work hard for the next game,” he said.
“We don’t think South Africa will make the same mistakes so we have to be better and trust in our game.” – Sapa