“It is great to be part of something bigger than me, this was an amazing feeling.”
That was the immediate reaction of Springbok debutant Gerhard Steenekamp after he took to the field in the second half and helped South Africa claim a hard-fought, but morale-boosting 24-13 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires.
Steenekamp (26) made an initial cameo for a couple of minutes when prop Trevor Nyakane was off the field, but in his permanent replacement, the Bulls loosehead turned on the screws and impressed in his first international scrum.
He immediately won a penalty for his side, and it was a good welcome to Test scrummaging.
Springbok debutant Gerhard Steenekamp had this to say after helping his side to victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires on Sunday.— IOL Sport (@IOLsport) August 6, 2023
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But he also did not stop there as he had Argentina under pressure in his second scrum as well, as he won another penalty.
"I don't have words [to sum his debut up], it was an indescribable experience," he said after the match.
"That was a good fightback in the second half. A rugby match is 80 minutes long, and it's important that we show we can play for the full 80. It was an unbelievable performance from the guys, and I am thankful that I could be part of it.
"This surely ranks very very high in terms of highlights in my career.”
Springbok winger Canan Moodie believes the win shows that the team is on track with where they want to be at the World Cup.
The 20-year-old speedster put in a man-of-the-match performance and was switched on from the first minute, when he had Argentina under pressure with his runs on the attack early on.
But it was also his display on defence, where he stifled a couple of Argentine attacks, that stood out in the performance.
Of course, the try he scored after fielding a cross-field kick from his flyhalf Manie Libbok was the cherry on top of the cake.
Springbok winger Canan Moodie believed the win against Argentina showed that the team is on track with where they want to be at the World Cup.— IOL Sport (@IOLsport) August 6, 2023
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"It's very special to come here and get a good win," Moodie said after his performance.
"The crowd was tough, but we knew that. They (Argentina) are a strangling and suffocating team, and we knew we just had to stay in the fight. We knew along the 60th minute in the second half they would break, so we had to keep on pounding and working. Eventually, the dam wall broke, and we played out wide and scored.
“I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity to prove myself and to go out there and play to the best of my ability. For some of the guys, we wanted to prove that we could hopefully punch our ticket to France and be part of the squad by performing.
"Team-wise it was a great win, just executing our plans, and hopefully we can go to the World Cup and defend our title. This was a big day."