South Africa captain Siya Kolisi believes the only thing that has changed in his side’s game following back-to-back Rugby Championship wins over Australia and Argentina is their execution in the opponents 22.
The Springboks scored five tries to secure a crucial bonus-point 36-20 victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday and draw level with New Zealand on 14 points at the top of the table to keep alive their hopes of regaining the title they last won in 2019.
🎥 HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from Buenos Aires, where the Boks bagged the bonus point in dramatic fashion on Saturday – watch here: https://t.co/AFk1irTzsU#StrongerTogether #StrongerForever #ARGvRSA #CastleRugbyChampionship pic.twitter.com/2f7Ic76hJz
— Springboks (@Springboks) September 17, 2022
The 2022 season had been characterised by a lack of composure and precision in attack, something coach Jacques Nienaber has repeatedly highlighted. But their 24-8 win over the Wallabies in Sydney and their victory this weekend suggest improvements have been made in both areas.
“Nothing has changed in the way we play, it is just about executing,” Kolisi told reporters. “If we stick to the plan, we know our system will give us these opportunities to score. In the past couple of games we have taken those chances.
“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.”
The Boks were rocked in the build-up to the match by online reports that a South African Sunday newspaper will reveal allegations of recreational drug taking by certain unnamed players in the squad.
This was taken so seriously by South African Rugby that they released a statement calling the allegations “unsubstantiated” and denying any player had tested positive for a banned substance.
“It was quite disturbing, the timing of it, five hours before a match like this,” Nienaber said. “I’m stunned that allegations like that can be made against this team.
“We are sometimes tested three times a week in South Africa. I can assure you we are one of the most tested teams. There has not been one positive test since we have been together this year.”
South Africa host Argentina in Durban next Saturday, while New Zealand welcome Australia to Auckland.
All four sides are still in with a mathematical chance of lifting the trophy.
🗣️ 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