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South African Media Question Selections And Refereeing Decisions After Loss

South African Media Question Selections And Refereeing Decisions After Loss
By Colman Stanley Updated
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In the aftermath of last night's Autumn Nations Series clash between Ireland and South Africa, we take a look at some of the South African media reaction, following the Springboks' 19-16 loss.

A lot of discussion heading into the game was centred around the selection of Cheslin Kolbe at fullback, ahead of Willie Le Roux.

After a long lay-off and playing in a relatively unfamiliar role, the game-breaking winger was unable to have his usual impact, and was fortunate to avoid a red card in the first-half.

Kolbe At 15 Experiment

Despite the 'failure' of the experiment, SA Rugby Magazine columnist Zelim Nel, suggests that it may have been done to lure Ireland into a false sense of security before the two sides meet in the groups stages of next year's World Cup.

"South Africa won’t see Ireland again until September next year when they rematch in a Pool B clash at Stade de France. Is it possible that Erasmus used Saturday’s Test to show Ireland something different to what he has planned for them in France?

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"The Boks would have gone into that match with the favourites tag if they’d won convincingly in Dublin, but now they will have the comfort of being labelled underdogs.

"Could it be that the obvious pitfalls of launching the Kolbe experiment this week was part of a probe to see how Ireland would respond? Surely the Bok coaches clearly understood the potential implications to the defence and kicking game?"

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5 November 2022; Referee Nika Amashukeli shows a yellow card to Cheslin Kolbe, 15, of South Africa during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and South Africa at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Outhalf Problems For South Africa

While switching Kolbe back to the wing and bringing back Le Roux is an obvious solution, the dilemma at outhalf is less clear, after a sub-par performance from the talented Damian Willemse.

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His marshalling of the backline was weak and his goal-kick was poor, with Kolbe taking over kicking duties after Willemse's misses.

Writing for the South African Times, Liam Del Carme asks whether it is time to bring in Willemse's Stormers teammate and the more natural no. 10, Manie Libbok.

"In the aftermath of their 19-16 defeat to Ireland, Springbok management was faced with the prickly question of where Manie Libbok will be heading on Sunday.

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"The Springboks were left to rue missed attempts at goal but perhaps more damningly a general lack of authority when they had to apply the boot in a Test that was decided by tight margins.

"There had been concerns about the lack of a reliable goal kicker in the match day squad and those fears proved warranted.

"Damian Willemse and Cheslin Kolbe both missed shots at goal that might have swung the match in SA's favour.

"In Libbok the Bok management have a reliable sharp shooter, who happens to be right at their disposal. He was the top scorer in the United Rugby Championship last season and was central to the Stormers' victory in the inaugural competition. This season he has picked up where he left off."

5 November 2022; Damian Willemse of South Africa is tackled by Caelan Doris of Ireland during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and South Africa at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Roub Houwing of news24 released his player ratings, where he praised the defensive shift of Jesse Kriel, but lamented the kicking performance from Willemse.

"The best Bok defensive “reader” in the backline on this occasion. Kriel generally chose fine moments to tear off his line for decisive, important tackles … and some of them were real rib-crunchers: ask veteran Irish captain and flyhalf Johnny Sexton, just for one. The outside centre also did some vital back-tracking salvation work when the Boks were under the cosh."

"The good things he did were very good: these included gutsy, sometimes clattering defence, safe collection of some balls from the air and twinkle-toed moments in negligible free space. But his place-kicking remains so obviously an awkward trade, and there was one horrendous missed touch from a penalty kick to the corner in the closing quarter."

Did The Ref Make The Wrong Calls Against South Africa ?

Journalists and regular Twitter posters, Brendan Nel and Jared Wright, both claimed that Andrew Porter's pass to Finlay Bealham in the build-up to Mack Hansen's try was forward, however, Wright's footage of the pass clearly shows that the pass was at the very least flat.

However, Sexton's pass to Mack Hansen in the build-up to Josh van der Flier's score did look to be forward.

SEE ALSO: The Angry South African Twitter Reaction After Ireland Defeat

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