South Africa captain Siya Kolisi thinks the only thing that has changed about his team’s play after back-to-back Rugby League wins over Australia and Argentina is their execution against the 22-year-old. The Springboks scored five tries for a crucial bonus point 36-20 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday and draw level with New Zealand on 14 points at the top of the table to keep their hopes of reclaiming the title they have last won in 2019.
The 2022 season had been characterized by a lack of composure and precision in attack, which coach Jacques Nienaber pointed out on several occasions. But their 24-8 win over the Wallabies in Sydney and their win over the weekend suggest improvements have been made in both areas. “Nothing has changed in the way we play, it’s just about executing,” Kolisi told reporters. “If we stick to the plan, we know that our system will give us those scoring opportunities. In the last two games, we have taken those opportunities.
“Our mindset was to come here and get as many points as possible. We want to win the Rugby Championship and knew we had to prepare for the game. It was a very good win against a very good Argentinian side .” The Boks were rocked in the build-up to the game by reports online that a South African Sunday newspaper revealed allegations of recreational drug use by some unnamed team players.
It was taken so seriously by South African Rugby that they issued a statement calling the allegations “unsubstantiated” and denying that any player had tested positive for a banned substance. “It was quite disturbing, the timing, five hours before a game like this,” Nienaber said. “I am stunned that such allegations can be made against this team.
“We are sometimes tested three times a week in South Africa. I can assure you that we are one of the most tested teams. There has not been a single positive test since we have been together this year.” South Africa will host Argentina in Durban next Saturday, while New Zealand will host Australia in Auckland.
The four teams always have a mathematical chance of winning the trophy.
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