Rassie Erasmus at the Rugby Championship match between South Africa and Australia in Johannesburg, July 20 2019. Picture: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI/GALLO IMAGES
Rassie Erasmus at the Rugby Championship match between South Africa and Australia in Johannesburg, July 20 2019. Picture: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI/GALLO IMAGES

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says they are nowhere near the standard they have set themselves even after the hard-fought 35-17 win over Australia at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Boks delivered grit and determination in their first match since November as the coach gambled with an experimental side in the absence of senior players.

He welcomed the result, which he said will give his charges confidence ahead of their second Rugby Championship outing against the All Blacks on Saturday.

“We are aware that we are not close to a world-class performance‚” he said. “It was more individuals who stood out in the game to raise their hands in Test-match rugby — that was the biggest take-out.

“The way we play is definitely not the quality that will get us into the playoffs of the World Cup‚ but we expected that with the team that has not played together in a long time.”

Several players are already in Wellington to acclimatise for this weekend’s clash against New Zealand.

Erasmus started Saturday’s encounter with debutants Herschel Jantjies and Rynhardt Elstadt, while Lizo Gqoboka came off the bench. They were surrounded by experienced players such as Eben Etzebeth‚ Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and Elton Jantjies.

The Bok coach said there had been an element of luck in their win as Australia knocked the ball on the edge of the try line and one of their tries was denied because of a forward pass in the build-up.

“Decisions go for you or against sometimes. Last year against England, it didn’t go our way with the high tackle and we could have won that match, and against France we could have lost that match‚” he said.

“We were lucky because they knocked the ball on on the try line and there was also a forward pass when they could have scored and we would have been under the pump.

“It is the same as last year when we played New Zealand — they scored a try that could have been called back for a forward pass.

“When decisions come your way‚ you must take them and say thanks.”

* SA captain Siya Kolisi will not take part in the Rugby Championship after he was left out of the squad for the Springboks’ remaining matches away in New Zealand and Argentina.

Loose-forward Kolisi is recovering from a knee injury sustained for the Stormers in Super Rugby in May, with his priority now to be ready for the Boks’ opening game of the Rugby World Cup in Japan against New Zealand on September 21.

The Boks announced a 36-man tour party for both games, with the team to camp in New Zealand after Saturday’s clash in Wellington, and then head to Argentina for their final game of the 2019 competition in Salta on August 10.

Loose-forward Marco van Staden and utility back Dillyn Leyds were released to their franchises in other changes from the squad that defeated Australia on Saturday.

Bok coach Erasmus sent 14 players to New Zealand on Thursday, before the Wallabies Test, with a further eight leaving on Saturday evening. He will have 22 players in camp for his first training session on Monday, with the remainder to arrive in the week.

Four players — prop Gqoboka, fullback Warrick Gelant, lock Marvin Orie and centre Andre Esterhuizen — will arrive in New Zealand later in the week and are, therefore, not likely to be in contention for selection against the world champions.

Squad: Forwards: Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lood de Jager, Thomas du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rynhardt Elstadt, Eben Etzebeth, Lizo Gqoboka, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira, Franco Mostert, Trevor Nyakane, Marvin Orie, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Duane Vermeulen. Backs: Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Andre Esterhuizen, Warrick Gelant, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Willie le Roux, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Frans Steyn 

Reuters  


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