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Cheika Bemoans “Step Back” For Argentina In Springbok Loss

  • 2 min read

Argentina battled at the breakdown in their 23-14 Rugby World Cup warm-up loss to South Africa in Buenos Aires on Saturday as coach Michael Cheika described the defeat as a “step back” in their preparations for the tournament in France.

Cheika’s side led 10-3 at halftime against a much-changed Springbok team packed with fringe players seeking to confirm a place in South Africa’s World Cup squad that will be announced on Tuesday.

But Argentina wilted in the second period as the visitors stepped up their power game, to which the hosts had no answer.

“It was a disappointment,” Cheika told reporters. “There was a lack of intensity on our part. In the first half we were in good positions in defence, not dominant, but in a good positions.

“More intensity at the ruck and in the tackle was what was missing. It was our worst performance at the ruck this year. We were not at the right level.

Cheika hopes the performance will be a wake-up call to his side, who start their World Cup campaign with a crunch pool clash against England in Marseille on Sept. 9.

“Even if we had won playing this way, I would not be happy,” he said. “Today was a step back. If we want to achieve excellence, we need to be able to overcome difficult situations, because in two games we will be at the World Cup.

“If we take one thing from this, it’s that we can’t be complacent. Since we played well last week (in a 22-21 loss to South Africa in Johannesburg), we were complacent. In rugby you don’t win like that.”

Argentina will not be in action for another three weeks until a warm-up clash against Spain in Madrid on Aug. 26.