Springboks coach Peter de Villiers says the return of Richie McCaw adds a new dimension to the All Blacks and South Africa’s famous win in Dunedin will have little relevance to this weekend’s rematch in Cape Town.
Duncan Johnstone writes for RugbyHeaven NZ that McCaw missed both the clashes with the Springboks in New Zealand as he recovered from an ankle injury.
He sat on the sidelines to watch the All Blacks beat the Boks in Wellington but then had to endure South Africa ending a 10-year drought in New Zealand when they scored a late try to win 30-28 at Carisbrook a week later.
Now McCaw is up for the decider. He quickly got back into stride to be at his inspirational best as he led the All Blacks to victory over the Wallabies in their last Tri-Nations test, a result that has set up a crucial showdown at Newlands this weekend.
It’s 1-all and the All Blacks’ title is on the line.
De Villiers was quick to acknowledge McCaw’s presence when he spoke at a media session.
He’s sure McCaw will give the All Blacks a far more effective back row and help New Zealand’s defensive game.
“I know their defensive structure is one of the best,” said de Villiers on keo.co.za.
“Now they have [Richie] McCaw back and he is combining well with the other loose forwards. Their roles are very different now and that calls for some alterations in our plans.
“The All Blacks are a drilled side, with a lot of attention to detail and if we are going to neglect that then I think we will be in deeper trouble than we expect.”
A lot of speculation is falling on the sort of game that the Boks will try to play against the All Blacks. Their attack lacked structure in Wellington but then they reverted to a more traditional South African style in Dunedin, their patient approach paid dividends.
They picked off New Zealand lineout ball, struck parity in the scrums and brought a physical edge to the breakdowns. With a potent kicking game they took the few chances that came their way when they got into the right areas of the field.
Clearly the return of McCaw has them looking at producing a third game plan in this intriguing mini-series.
De Villiers was giving little away but said that the Boks would have to move on from their sweet dreams of Carisbrook.
“That test is done, over and done with, it’s part of history,” he said.
“Nothing of that test will come back to help us or come back to haunt us on Saturday.
“There are a lot of other things that you have to take into consideration. And we did just that last week on our own. We started [considering those] now with the senior players and the rest of the coaching staff. So we are buying into what we want to do against [New Zealand] and I hope it’s going to work.”
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