CAPE TOWN – Following their 16-draw against the All Blacks at the weekend, Rassie Erasmus admitted that the Springboks were “nervous” about Richie Mo’unga’s start at 10 and Beauden Barrett’s increased space at fullback.
Ahead of the much-anticipated Test at Wellington, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen proved how keen he is to experiment ahead of the World Cup with those two selections.
Until Saturday, Mo’unga had started in only two Tests, neither one against South Africa.
Said Erasmus: “We were nervous about Richie playing at 10 and Beauden getting more space at 15, also about Sonny Bill Williams and that offloading game.”
Erasmus also said he was frustrated that his team did not make use of the possession and territory they had in the opening half.
“I was frustrated in a sense that we dominated a lot of things except lineouts. All the other facets we dominated. Especially when they were almost under caution from the referee for repeated infringing.
“We missed the penalty when we could have gone nine points up, then they scored that turnover try and that swung the momentum.”
Erasmus also said they were “lucky” to get the draw. “Lucky to escape, but the first 40 minutes we played really good tactical rugby.”
The Springboks now travel to Auckland for a week-long training camp before their third and final Rugby Championship match against Argentina in two weeks’ time in Salta.@WynonaLouw