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Missed bonus point could come back to haunt Boks

REACTION: Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber was not too disappointed with the try his team conceded towards the end of their 29-10 victory over Argentina on Saturday.

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The Boks needed to score three or more tries than Argentina to claim the bonus point but ended up conceding a try in the final moments – only the third they had conceded in six Tests in 2021, including the season opener against Georgia.

Another bonus-point win would have put them in an even better position going into the next phase of the tournament, which includes tough matches against the All Blacks.

Nienaber’s side are currently on top of the standings with nine points from their two victories over Argentina.

The All Blacks are in second position with five points. There Round Two fixture against the Wallabies, which was scheduled for Perth on August 28, is now in the process of being rescheduled after the All Blacks pulled the plug on travelling to Perth.

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“I am not disappointed about the try we conceded,” said Nienaber.

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“We were going all out for the bonus point and we were even asking them [the players] to go for big reads and take chances.

“If we conceded a try because we are going full out for a bonus point, then it was absolutely worth it.

“We were in a fortunate position where we could go for that, so I am not disappointed with that.”

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Nienaber was rather looking at the bigger picture than a bonus point. He said the Springboks’ game management was excellent for the first hour of the match but admitted they had lost cohesion in the final quarter when all the replacement players were on the field.

“We would have loved to get the bonus point, but we wanted to give guys game time.

“Our strategic goal will always be to win games and defend the Rugby Championship, but looking ahead to [the next World Cup in] 2023 we made changes to get broader experience in the squad.”

‘We made mistakes’

Captain Siya Kolisi also highlighted the threat that the Pumas posed; a team that he likened emotionally to his own and one which he knew was determined to improve on their showing in the 12-32 first Test defeat.

“We’re very similar in many ways and we love playing against them,” said Kolisi.

“They play for the people of Argentina like we play for the people of South Africa and we knew we would have our backs against the wall – we knew they were going to come, and they did. Argentina are a very passionate team, and we knew they would bring everything.

“But we stuck to our game plan and we built on the scoreboard; I wished we could have capitalised on the opportunities we created. But we made mistakes in lineouts and they defended well; they were a very different team to the one we played last week.”

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