Bonus points now key in tussle for Rugby Championship

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South Africa will be looking not only for victory against Argentina in their penultimate Rugby Championship clash in Buenos Aires on Saturday but also the opportunity to pick up vital bonus points, said scrum half Faf de Klerk.

This year’s southern hemisphere championship is a tightly contested affair with all four countries having won two and lost two of their opening four games.

New Zealand, however, lead the standings with 10 points, one more than South Africa, Australia and Argentina after picking up an added bonus point – for scoring three or more tries than their opponents.

This weekend, the All Blacks take on Australia in Melbourne while South Africa go in search of success in Argentina, where they have won 12 times in 15 previous tests.

“Everyone who knows rugby and looks at the log table knows the situation and that we need to get the maximum of five points in both of our next two games,” said De Klerk at a virtual news conference on Wednesday.

“Bonus points are going be everything in those last two games. This is where we are at and we know what we need to do. We are determined to do it.”

The final round of matches in this year’s Rugby Championship will have South Africa host the Pumas in Durban on Sept. 24, preceded the same day by New Zealand against the Wallabies in Auckland.

“If everything works for us, I think we can get a bonus point to put us in a good position for the Championship. But let’s first look at this weekend’s game and then we can worry about the game in Durban,” he added.

De Klerk said South Africa would be mixing up their approach to the game, largely dispensing with the relentless kicking game of the last years.

“We haven’t parked that tactic, but we are trying to make out approach a little less predictable,” he said.

“I think in our last game against Australia we controlled territory and as soon as we were in good areas, we had the freedom to play a little more expansively. I think that will also be key this weekend.

“We will be looking for plenty of penalty advantage to give us the freedom to try and few more things,” added the scrumhalf, who is among the substitutes for the game.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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