Players who have been turning out for European clubs this year should help make it easier for the Springboks to return to the “old” rugby laws when they meet Wales here on Saturday.
The return of Springbok captain John Smit, Butch James, Victor Matfield and Percy Montgomery will give coach Peter de Villiers some peace of mind in this respect.
Pieter Jordaan writes in Volksblad that most of the Springboks have become accustomed to the experimental laws that were used in the Super 14 competition this season. Now they have to return to the laws that they last played under in 2007.
European teams have been playing according to the “old” laws all along, which could give Wales an advantage in the two-Test series against the Springboks.
It is hard to say how difficult it will be for the South Africans to revert to the laws that will apply on Saturday. They could make, in the heat of the moment, costly mistakes.
However, De Villiers feels players such as Smith, James, Matfield and Montgomery will be able to make valuable contributions in this department.
“We actually have a good mix, with John and the others returning from Europe. A lot of talking will be done and we’ll bring the guys to a point where they can help each other to tread the fine line between the old and the experimental laws,” the coach said.
The breakdown points could be the main area of uncertainty for the Springboks and an important aspect of the match.
De Villiers wants to encourage his team to play exciting rugby, but not at all costs.
“It you want to play expansive rugby, you first have to control the tight phases. The emphasis will therefore be on the scrum, lineout and drop-ins. We will do our best in those departments and then play according to the situation.
“Playing expansive rugby does not mean running every ball you get. We won’t deviate much; we won’t try to reinvent the game.”Tweet