Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi, says he is proud of the character his side has shown in their 36-20 bonus point victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires late on Saturday. The Boks went through a tough week, in which flyhalf Elton Jantjes was sent home, and then allegations surfaced that some players have apparently tested positive for cocaine.
The world champions, however, were awarded a penalty try and scored four more to secure the win. They now top the standings with New Zealand on 14 points. Argentina and Australia are out of the running. Kolisi says winning the Rugby Championship title remains their main focus:
“It’s been a tough week. We’re players and we read what everyone writes and it’s hard. Some players can take it and some can’t. The biggest thing we can do is just to stick together as a group; that’s what we said to each other. That’s how we played. You know, people still want results, no matter what we’re going through. All they see is what we do on the field.”
“Our mindset was to come here and get maximum points. We want to win the Rugby Championship and knew we had to pitch up for the game. It was a very good win against a very good Argentina side.”
🗣️ Jacques Nienaber on win over Pumas: “I must take my hat off to the players for keeping such calm heads toward the end of the game” – more here: https://t.co/7SxSnSJbHz#StrongerTogether #StrongerForever #ARGvRSA #CastleRugbyChampionship pic.twitter.com/jE1GBfLH6I
— Springboks (@Springboks) September 18, 2022
Los Pumas Reaction
Argentina coach Michael Cheika says the first half of their 36-20 loss to South Africa in the Rugby Championship was one of the worst I remember but vowed to keep faith with the players for their final fixture against the Springboks in Durban on Saturday.
While not directly criticising New Zealand referee James Doleman, Cheika questioned why his side were suddenly racking up penalties at a rate that makes victory extremely difficult.
“I promised my mother not to talk about the referee anymore and I can’t lie to my mother, he said with a rueful smile. Before the last two games, we were the least penalised team (in the Rugby Championship).
Against New Zealand and the world champions (South Africa) we were penalised 19 times.”
The All Blacks host Australia in Auckland in their final clash, where a bonus-point win will likely be enough to seal the title.