South Africa have much to work on following their Rugby Championship-opening 35-17 success against Australia at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday, Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus says.

Erasmus gambled with an experimental side as he sent 13 players to New Zealand this week ahead of their clash in Wellington on July 27, with most considered first-choice selections.

That meant there were debuts for flanker Rynhard Elstadt, prop Lizo Gqoboka and scrum-half Herschel Jantjies, and first Test appearances in four years for halfback Cobus Reinach and loose-forward Marcell Coetzee.

The Boks looked rusty and disjointed at times, especially in defence, but still they outscored their opponents five tries to two, with the impressive Jantjies stealing the show with a brace.

“A few guys certainly put their hands up for World Cup selection and although there was some rustiness and all our combinations weren’t settled, we are still happy with the win,” Erasmus said.

Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus “will properly analyse this match against Australia on the plane and when we get to New Zealand”. Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images

“At times we were frustrated with how things went, and we were also lucky as they [Australia] had a try disallowed for a forward pass and lost the ball over the line.

“From a team performance perspective, this isn’t how we want to play, quality wise, and we’re aware of that.”

Jantjies’ accomplished performance was the massive plus, especially as scrumhalf has been an area of concern for South Africa in recent years.

“I think Herschel showed that he is comfortable at this level, if you consider that he only really made his mark at Super Rugby level this year,” said Erasmus.

“The way he services his box kicks, the technical things, grit on defence, he can only grow from here. The opposition will get tougher and tougher, but it’s a great start for him.”

Herschel Jantjies enjoyed a Test debut to remember with two tries against the Wallabies. Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Erasmus also praised Reinach for his performance off the bench.

“Cobus also did very well when he came on. But things can change quickly with injuries and loss of form, so it’s good to have depth.

“Last year Embrose Papier and Ivan van Zyl did very well at stages, while we also have Faf [de Klerk] and Louis Schreuder, so it’s good to have all these options available. Now we have to consolidate and make sure we get the right 9s to the Rugby World Cup.”

The Boks remain overseas after next weekend’s New Zealand clash, staying in camp ahead of their final game of the shortened Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina in Salta on Aug. 10.

“We will fly a few more players and management over on Sunday and perhaps some more players on Monday, so that we’ll have a squad of around 34 in New Zealand,” Erasmus said.

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“We are not returning to South Africa after the Test in Wellington and will remain in New Zealand for a camp before we go straight to Argentina to face the Pumas.

“But before that, we need to shift our focus to the All Blacks. They also lost some players at home and will be fresh and ready for us.

“It was difficult to select this team as we didn’t want to show any disrespect to Australia, but next weekend we are playing the top side in the world, so we amended our travel plans as we would like to be as fresh as possible over there, otherwise we won’t stand a chance.

“This is a massively important match; the last three Tests between us and them have been very close and could have gone either way, but they are playing at home and will be ready for us.

“I will properly analyse this match against Australia on the plane and when we get to New Zealand, we will look at what our needs are in terms of which players will have to join us over there. We’ll start our preparations in all earnest on Monday.”



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