Home Sport Coetzee pleased but cautions that there’s still work to do

Coetzee pleased but cautions that there’s still work to do

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Toetie hinted at improving the Boks' set-pieces which although wasn't bad at the weekend, would be crucial for the return leg

South Africa coach Allister Coetzee reacts ahead of the Rugby Championship 2017 match between South Africa and Argentina at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says he’s pleased with the performance the team produced against Argentina in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, but added there are still a few areas they need to work on if they want to get a winning result in Salta as well.

The Boks were rewarded for their good efforts in their opening Rugby Championship match with a 37-15 win over the Pumas at a lively Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and Coetzee said ongoing improvement in their set-pieces – although they were good at the weekend – will be crucial as they prepare for the Saturday’s return leg in Argentina.

“I’m definitely very pleased with the win, but it was not a perfect performance,” Coetzee said. “It’s never easy in Salta. But we’re just going to keep building on our processes – you have to keep improving on your scrum, your line-out, your mauling and your kicking game.”

“I think we were spot-on with our defensive tactics and we handled the high balls, and that’s a massive positive in terms of our progress.”

Coetzee really had a lot to be pleased with.

The Springboks certainly looked promising with ball in hand on Saturday. They used the width of the field, and they scored four well-worked tries and, as the game progressed, they showed good decision-making and used their chances – something that could have been seen as a bit of an issue in the first half.

During that first 40, the Boks didn’t make use of all their attacking opportunities, and were also caught off guard by the Pumas, especially at the breakdowns, a number of times. They did much better in the second half, and what was a tight game for the first two quarters undoubtedly became the Boks’ in the second stanza.

And when asked what was said during half-time break to help boost the players, Coetzee said: “It was a matter of changing the tactics a little bit and getting the ball in behind them.

“The message at half-time was for the team to stay patient and that we’ll find the space, and we did.”

The Springboks also produced a great effort at scrum time – with tighthead and Man of the Match Coenie Oosthuizen stamping down in a big way – and their defence also held up well. So it’s safe to say the Boks will want to take a lot from their first match against the Argentinians into the second, and knowing what to expect should make their preparation even more efficient.

But they also know what not to do.

During the post-match press conference, Coetzee said the Boks “learnt lessons” from last year – when they lost 26-24 in Salta – and explained that they will get most of their work done in South Africa before heading to South America.

The Boks will also be heartened they got through the match without any injuries, and their impact players once again shone when they came off the bench.

A win in Salta will be vital for the Boks in more ways than one, as the All Blacks already have an away bonus point win in their kitbag, and will be heavily favoured to give the Wallabies another whipping in Dunedin this coming Saturday.