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'We'll get the tag again': Ex-Bok coach's warning after dirty off-the-ball play against Pumas

By Ben Smith
Marvin Orie of South Africa celebrates after winning a test match between Argentina Pumas and South Africa Springboks at Jose Amalfitani Stadium on August 5, 2023 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

Ex-Springbok assistant coach Swys de Bruin has warned the Springboks not to carry on like they did in Buenos Aires against the Pumas or risk getting the ‘tag’ again from match officials.


South Africa’s discipline has come under the spotlight after conceding 13 penalties and a yellow card, but it was the off-the-ball antics that the former coach did not like.

Particularly in the first half where Argentina were able to build a 10-3 halftime lead, South Africa’s discipline played a helping hand in giving the home side the advantage.

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De Bruin feared that it could impact their chances at the World Cup with the stigma around being a dirty side sticking with them.

“How was our discipline? It was small little things. Marvin Orie, I coached him, bloody great player but stop doing this stuff,” de Bruin explained on SuperSport TV’s The Final Whistle show.

“Have a look, if this is going to happen in a World Cup we are going to get the ‘tag’ again.”

In the first half lock Marvin Orie and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach got into a scuffle with Pumas winger Emiliano Boffelli that spilled over the sideline.

Boffelli was trapped at the bottom of a ruck underneath a pile of bodies before Orie decided to give him the facial treatment.


Reinach dropped the knee into his rib area while trying to fetch the ball before hauling him out of the ruck underneath his armpit.

The Argentinian was clearly unhappy, springing to his feet to confront the Springboks No 9 who was shoved unapologetically towards the advertising boards.

“No need to do whatever happens there, you’ll see Marvin will come in right in front of the AR [assistant referee], he’s putting his hand on the guy’s face on the ground, on his head,” de Bruin said.

“Remember the moustache tickling with Nic White? You don’t touch in the face. It’s out.

“Now Rienach, I don’t know what he does… he pulls him almost into the AR… now that is causing chaos. Guys leave it.


“Jacques [Nienaber] and the guys, you’ve got to sort this out.”

Another clip showed Pumas flyhalf Nico Sanchez hit extremely late in the back after the pass by openside flanker Franco Mostert on a set-piece launch.

Sanchez was left reeling by the ‘dog shot’ which nailed him in the ribs, leaving the referee no option but to issue a yellow card.

“The ball is passed, there is a double tackle without the ball,” Bruin said.

“We will be in big trouble if we do this, look at that No 10 he gets one in the ribs there.

“It’s unnecessary. There is a fine line between being aggressive and bad discipline. You can be very hard, you can be very tough, but that’s not it.”


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After Mostert’s yellow at the very next lineout, Orie was once again caught out with dangerous play taking a jumper out in the air leading to another penalty.

“We’d just had a yellow, we are under the pump and now suddenly Marvin plays him in the air taking his legs out,” he said.

“Not good enough. If we can sort this out, it will be another step in the right direction I think.”

Former head coach Nic Mallett defended some of the critique around the high line defence which has a difficult job to do.

He said at times players will be tackled without the ball due to the speed at which the line is coming forward and the desire to pin the opposition behind the gain line.

“It really is the way we play,” Mallett said of the rush defence.

“We get up for games and we want to knock people back. We want to knock them back a long way behind the advantage line.

“When we ball carry, we try and get over them and get a long way across the advantage line.

“So it’s really hard against teams that take it flat to the line, and I immediately cite Ireland, who come with two or three options, the pullback pass or the guy flat, or the guy himself.

“And they are right in your face. The three runners at you, at the last moment you don’t know whether the ball is going to be passed or not.

“You can’t pull out of the tackle. It’s very good attack, but we are criticising our defence.

“I think it is very, very tough. You’ve got to be watching that ball but also watching that runner, and you don’t want him to get past the advantage line.

“So there are going to be situations when we play against teams that attack on the gain line.”




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