Sunday, August 21, 2011

The return of the Springboks..... or not?

Everyone went to bed content and happy that our beloved Springboks finally delivered on the promise that they are on a mission to retain the magical Rugby World Cup title.  All it seems, is finally on track and our boys are ready to defend the title..... or is it?
My alma mater was playing its last fixture a few days ago and during the main game I was on the side of the field having a young conversation with one of my coaching colleagues.  He asked me, why is it that a full strength All Black team can demolish a weakened Bok team but a full strength Springbok team struggle to do the same?  He asked this question after I bet him that the Springboks will not be able to do as the All Blacks did to our ‘B’ team. 

My reasoning behind my statement is that we have lowered our expectations regarding the Boks.  We seem to have forgotten how magnificent this team was in setting the benchmark in world rugby, we have also forgotten how physically dominant our Boks once were.  I never would have thought that the day would come that an old war-horse like Bakkies Botha would get dominated by a little snot nosed rookie like Sam Whitelock and still walk away from the confrontation with a smile.  Knowing the Bakkies of old, this would have signalled the end for Whitelock.  Instead, the situation fizzled out like a John Smit ball carry.

The inability  to show composure with the final pass by the All Blacks, cost them 3 try scoring opportunities in the first half which quite frankly could have buried the Boks and we would be singing a different tune today.  The inexperience of the All Black contingent, masked the glaring holes the Springbok team still need to work on before the start of the Rugby World Cup.  The 31 missed tackle statistic proves that our Bok team needs to tighten up their defensive system, otherwise they run the risk of being exposed at the showpiece.
The problem lies not in our first phase attack, but rather from the third phase onwards.  We lack the creativity to use our possession which we end up kicking aimlessly with no credible chase lines to speak of.
The performance of Fourie du Preez leaves much to be desired and if that is the form he is taking into the World Cup, may G be with us.
The shining beacons however have to be Heinrich Brussouw and the ever reliable Jacques Fourie.  Heinrich, came back onto the field after copping a boot to the face from Habana which resulted in him going off the field for running repairs.  On his return, it was as if he was injected with a dose of pride.  He was amazing on the floor and led the way in an epic fashion, which eventually earned him the tag of being named the man of the match.

I pray that the Boks find their mojo before the rugby showpiece commences.  Their defence has to be jacked up a couple of notches.  When playing their kicking pattern, I urge they improve their chasing lines by putting pressure on the ball thus nullifying opposition counter attack opportunities.  When in the strike zone, use your possession as effectively as other words, WE WANT TRIES, WORLD CUP OR NOT!!!


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