Boks 'got it right' with Papier
REACTION: Head coach Rassie Erasmus could not be more satisfied with his decision to hand Embrose Papier the No.9 jersey during South Africa’s 26-20 win over Scotland.
The 21-year-old made his first start at the Murrayfield after being a permanent fixture on the bench this season.
Many pundits were adamant Papier’s place in the starting XV was long overdue. However, head coach Erasmus had other plans and believes the No.9’s debut came at the right time not only for the youngster but for the Boks aswell.
The Bulls No.9 had his worked cut out for especially going up against Scotland star scrumhalf and captain Greig Laidlaw. But the 21-year-old kept his cool produced a solid performance alongside club teammate Handre Pollard.
“I really think that in the case of Embrose, we got it right,” said Erasmus.
“We thought this was the right game for him, on this pitch and the way Scotland play suits him well, and he also handled it very well.
“Credit must also go to [Springbok assistant coaches] Mzwandile Stick and Swys de Bruin for the way they’ve blooded him into Test match rugby,”
Erasmus also had huge praise for his side’s growing maturity following their dramatic late 29-26 victory against France in Paris and by becoming only the second team in two years to beat Scotland on their own patch.
In a Springbok success inspired by flyhalf Pollard, whose 18-point haul featured a try, two conversions and three penalties, Erasmus’ charges emulated the world champion All Blacks, whose 22-17 win at Murrayfield 12 months ago is the only other Scotland defeat in 12 home matches.
“I think we won this Test match because we’re learning slowly,” said Erasmus, whose side’s other points came courtesy of a Jesse Kriel try and an Elton Jantjies penalty. “I think the team is getting maturity in tight situations, in closing or trying to win games
“We’re definitely not the finished product but slowly we’re definitely growing into a better team. We beat a team that’s been on a great run and is really a force in world rugby.”
Erasmus is now in credit as South Africa’s coach, with seven wins and six losses from 13 matches.
Crucially, in his team’s last four matches on the road, they have beaten New Zealand, been unlucky to lose 11-12 to England and claimed back-to-back victories against France in Paris and Scotland in Edinburgh.
“Normally, the more inexperienced players you have, with fewer caps, you struggle away,” said Erasmus.
“We’re getting over that hurdle now. The young players are starting to feel comfortable away from home. We didn’t play well at stages but we were gutsy,”
The Springboks travel to Cardiff next where they will conclude their four-week tour against Wales as the Principality Stadium