Have Boks improved? What the numbers say
Cape Town - Allister Coetzee has just completed his second Rugby Championship campaign in charge of the Springboks, and while the log position was no better than it was in 2016, there are still encouraging signs.
The Boks finished third once more this year, and while there were a couple of disappointing results, a look at the overall numbers suggests a better tournament for the men in green and gold.
In 2016 the Boks lost 4 of their 6 matches, winning just 2. This year they also only won twice, but they also only lost 2 matches, both against the All Blacks.
The Boks amassed 10 log points in 2016, while in 2017 they finished with 14 log points.
Their records on both defence and attack were also improved.
In 2016, South Africa scored 117 points and conceded 180 for a points difference of -63. That included scoring just 8 tries and conceding 22.
This year, however, the Boks scored 152 points and conceded 170 for a points difference of -18. While the 57-0 thrashing in Albany in Round 4 certainly didn't help, the Boks still managed to improve by scoring 17 tries and conceding 20.
Back in 2015 Rugby Championship was a shortened tournament because of the Rugby World Cup that year, but compared to the 2014 tournament - the last full competition before the Coetzee era - the Boks have slipped.
That year, South Africa under Heyneke Meyer finished second on the table with a total of 19 log points.
Having beaten Australia and the All Blacks on home soil and losing to them away, the Boks won 4 of their 6 matches.
The Boks scored 134 points that year, and conceded just 110 for a points difference of +25. Defence was the major factor that year, with Meyer's men conceding just 10 tries throughout the tournament while they scored 13.
Speaking after the match on Saturday, Coetzee said he was satisfied with where the Boks were.
"There are a lot of things that I’m so positive about. We really feel like we’re heading in the right direction," he said.
"I’m really pleased with this year’s Championship."
The Boks are next in action when they take on Ireland in Dublin on November 11.