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Pressure is now on Erasmus and Springboks

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Much of Erasmus’ selection plans were dismantled by his team’s inept performance in Mendoza

Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert of South Africa prepare to scrum down during the 2018 Rugby Championship match against Argentina at Malvinas Argentinas Stadium.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has admitted that his team is under immense pressure to win against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday but there is even greater pressure on the Springbok mentor to make the right selections to get him that victory.

“If you lose the pressure is more. We must win, that’s the end of the game. If you lose there is pressure, it doesn’t matter against who. The pressure is definitely on us to perform better and to win and the players understand that. I’m sure that training and the effort on Saturday will show that,” said Erasmus when his team departed South Africa for Australia over the weekend.

Much of Erasmus’ selection plans were dismantled by his team’s inept performance in Mendoza which led to their defeat against Argentina but it also raised a lot of questions about the mix of his combinations, particularly amongst the loose-forwards and in the midfield.

Found wanting

While the loose trio of Francois Louw at openside, Siya Kolisi at blindside and Warren Whiteley at No 8 was effective in the first Test against the Pumas in Durban, they were found wanting in Mendoza as they struggled to find cohesion and dominance on the ground and getting over the advantage line.

Erasmus revealed that he is considering making a change with the loose trio with Pieter-Steph du Toit a serious contender to start and Marco van Staden coming off the bench as an outright fetcher.

If Erasmus is to tinker with his loose trio then Kolisi is likely to move back to No 6 at the expense of Louw with Du Toit starting at blindside while Van Staden could also be a possibility at No 8 where he played for the Bulls during Super Rugby.

“I have been mulling about that (loose trio) because we had Duane (Vermeulen) in and are trying a few things there. I thought it went very well in Durban but it didn’t go so well (in Mendoza), not just the loose-forwards but various positions Yes they didn’t fire last Saturday, definitely not.”

Erasmus might also consider making a change in the midfield where André Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am were found wanting in Mendoza with Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel likely to come into the reckoning especially with the wealth of experience they carry as a centre combination.

“Actually if we won in Argentina we were going to make quite a few changes in this match to test a few things without making the team less effective and disrespecting Australia. But we’ve put ourselves in a position now where we have to win at all costs. We’ll definitely experiment much less than we would have, but we will make a few changes.”