Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, described the Springboks’ 32-19 defeat to Argentina in the second round of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, on Saturday evening (SA time) in Mendoza, as embarrassing.
A resurgent Pumas team defeated the Springboks in front of an ecstatic crowd at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas following a 27-7 lead at halftime.
One week after suffering a 34-21 defeat at the hands of the Springboks in Durban, the Pumas produced a physical performance to snap an 11-match losing streak.
Erasmus was brutally honest in his assessment of the Springboks’ poor performance: “It was embarrassing and not the kind of performance you expect to see from the Springboks.
“We made only one change to the starting team from last week, when we dominated them. We have to point the fingers to ourselves, firstly as coaches and then as players, and we will have to fix it.”
Erasmus said the travelling to Argentina was definitely not a factor: “We travelled a day later and in the second half we outplayed them because we were the fresher team.
“We were playing better rugby in the second half but we just didn’t make use of our opportunities.
“I’m not going to look for positives after a performance like that. We have no excuses, we knew exactly what to expect, we prepared for it but we just didn’t handle it,” added Erasmus.
Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi scored his side’s only try in the first half and the Boks delivered a much better performance in the second half.
Lionel Mapoe (replacement wing) scored twice in the right-hand corner after the break for his first tries in the Green and Gold jersey. Mapoe was an early replacement for Makazole Mapimpi, who suffered a knock to the knee.
Argentina outscored the Springboks by four tries to three, with Nicolas Sanchez (flyhalf) instrumental, scoring 17 points courtesy of a try, three conversions, a penalty and a drop goal.
The Springboks return home on Tuesday and the squad will re-assemble on Saturday in Johannesburg, from where they will travel to Brisbane for their next fixture, on 8 September against the Wallabies in the Suncorp Stadium.