Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said on Friday that one of his major concerns was the finishing ability of the South African wings.
Rugby 365 reports that De Villiers was the keynote speaker at the Kuils River Rugby Club’s breakfast function, held near Stellenbosch.
“It is a problem that our Springbok wings lack the ability to provide the finishing touch when the tryline is in sight,” said De Villiers.
“When you’re playing at international level you expect wings to apply the finish with clinical precision.”
The Springbok coach said some of the problems which his team had encountered on the recent away leg of the Tri-Nations tour of Australasia were not insurmountable.
South Africa lost 8-19 to New Zealand in the opening match of the series in Wellington earlier this month, then upstaged the All Blacks (30-28) through a brilliant piece of individualism by scrumhalf Ricky Januarie in Dunedin a week later.
The Boks lost their third game, 9-16 to Australia in Perth, when they failed to convert a number of scoring opportunities – including wing Bryan Habana, the International Rugby Board (IRB) Player of the Year, losing control of the ball centimetres from the Wallaby line.
De Villiers also singled out the role of the referees, who he felt were not consistent and as a result his team was forced to adjust from one match to the next.
On a more positive note De Villiers said the team was blessed with players who had a wealth of rugby “intelligence” and that made the job of the Springbok coaching staff so much easier.
“Once we’ve spent time off the field discussing moves or drills the players have no difficulty in executing them when he get on to the training field,” said De Villiers. “I have been surprised at how quick players can implement new ideas.”
There was also great praise for the senior players from the Bok coach.
“A player like Victor Matfield is worth so much to the team, because the younger players learn so much from them, and sometimes they learn more from the seniors than from the coaches,” De Villiers said.
He jokingly illustrated this point when he referred to a recent discussion with Springbok rookie Andries Bekker.
“I asked Andries [Bekker] about his stint in the Springbok squad and all he could tell me was about how Victor Matfield was helping him. He [Bekker] had nothing to say about what I was doing for the side.”Tweet