Great learn­ing curve for Boks: coach

Post - - SPORT - MIKE GREENAWAY

THE Spring­boks’ fail­ure to fin­ish off their op­por­tu­ni­ties and some ill-dis­ci­pline, which re­sulted in cru­cial penal­ties for Eng­land, cost them the match at Twick­en­ham at the week­end, ac­cord­ing to Spring­bok coach Rassie Eras­mus.

Eng­land edged South Africa 12-11 in a tightly fought bat­tle played be­fore a ca­pac­ity crowd in Lon­don. The home side’s fly­half and co-cap­tain, Owen Far­rell, de­liv­ered a flaw­less goal-kick­ing dis­play and slot­ted three penal­ties, while full­back El­liot Daly was on tar­get with a long-range penalty.

Spring­bok right wing Sbu Nkosi scored the only try of the match in the first half, while Han­dré Pol­lard suc­ceeded with two penalty goals.

The Spring­boks were espe­cially dom­i­nant in the first half, when they had the ad­van­tage in ter­ri­tory and scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. They failed to cap­i­talise though.

“The two things which we didn’t do well was to fin­ish our op­por­tu­ni­ties and our dis­ci­pline,” said Eras­mus.

“It doesn’t mat­ter how you look at it, if you don’t fin­ish off your op­por­tu­ni­ties and give away too many penal­ties, you will lose the Test match.”

Eras­mus was also frus­trated by the missed li­ne­out op­por­tu­ni­ties when the Spring­boks were on the front foot.

“The li­ne­outs were frus­trat­ing for me,” he said.

“(Eng­land lock Maro) Itoje was off with a yel­low card and I thought we made the right call to opt for the li­ne­outs in­stead of kick­ing for goal.”

Eras­mus said he was pleased with the per­for­mances of Damian Willemse at full­back and Ivan van Zyl at scrumhalf. Willemse made his first start for the team while Van Zyl only had one pre­vi­ous start in the No 9 jersey.

“For them, a match such as this one is a great learn­ing curve and play­ing in those de­ci­sion mak­ing po­si­tions, I think they did well,” said Eras­mus.

Eben Etze­beth left the field early with a foot in­jury and was re­placed at lock by RG Sny­man. Eras­mus is not ex­pect­ing his most ex­pe­ri­enced player to be ready to face France next week.

“We will have to do a proper med­i­cal check on Eben but it seems like he is out for the next game,” said Eras­mus.

The Spring­boks have trav­elled to Paris and will play France on Satur­day evening at the Stade de France.

PIC­TURE: FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA

Duane Ver­meulen rises high to claim a kick against Eng­land at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day.

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