KSA Shark ©

Bok fans love it when a plan comes together


Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks, Tri Nations on 1 Sep 2008 at 08:43

Whatever the explanation for Australia’s decision to treat Saturday’s Test match as little more than a game of beach rugby in the sunshine, certain facts are undeniable about the home side’s performance.

Peter Bills writes in Pretoria News that despite their coach’s denials, manifested by a sullen “it wouldn’t be fair to say that” answer to suggestions that the Springboks had played a more structured game, the evidence was there before our eyes.

Three of the South Africans’ four first half tries were created by positions established from long kicks downfield or skywards by Butch James. His vastly improved tactical kicking was reminiscent of Daniel Carter’s against Australia in Auckland earlier in the tournament when the All Blacks, like the Springboks on Saturday, had turned the tables on their Australian foes.

Instead of trying to run everything out of defence, the South Africans used the aerial route to make significant territorial advantages. Then they struck with ball in hand. This was proof that even De Villiers had accepted the need for more pragmatism in his side’s game, a greater structure and a proper platform before launching the running attacks.

South Africa also kept their play much simpler than at any previous time in this Tri-Nations competition. They made the ball do the work and that was sufficient because there were so many holes in the Australian defence. All they needed to show was an ability to time a pass and exploit space.

Given the hari-kiri approach of the Wallabies, the Springboks could settle down, stay calm and simply await the next score.

It was always just around the corner against so woeful an outfit as Australia on this particular day.

The worthy Percy Montgomery said afterwards, in announcing his retirement from Test rugby, that the decision had been coming for some time. But the amount of room donated by Australia in this game (you couldn’t call it a contest) must have had Percy pondering whether to play on.

Of course, the truth is, proper Test match rugby isn’t like this. Teams don’t go out and just throw the ball anywhere, run from crazy positions and fall off tackles everywhere. Not unless they have a death wish. The second half was like a slightly elevated training session with wave after wave of attacks raining down on defenders with only a limited interest in stopping them.

Therefore, De Villiers’ talk later that someone was always bound to get a hiding if the Boks got things together, was premature. For the majority of this competition, the South Africans have been a crushing failure, a huge disappointment as four defeats in six games says. But at least on Saturday, whatever the farcical attitude of the opposition, there were encouraging signs that some players were starting to learn the intricacies and requirements of their coach’s more fluid game plan. Instead of constantly going to ground when in possession, players stayed on their feet far more and off-loaded either just before or in the tackle. This meant a momentum, a flow was established and it was far too much for the Wallabies.

The surprise is that it took the World Cup holders all season to show signs of beginning to master the intended style of De Villiers. That revealed how deeply ingrained the previous regime’s ways and methods had been in the minds of these players. To see international players, indeed world champions, struggling to come to terms with a new style raised eyebrows in a good many circles.

The pity for South Africa is that they now have a vacuum of two months before resuming international matches. And those will be in the northern hemisphere in November when the grounds are much softer and often wet. In such conditions, it’s a lot tougher to perform this kind of fluid rugby and the South Africans must retain the greater pragmatism they showed in Johannesburg.



10 Comments

  • This guy confuses me. He starts out by saying “the Springboks had played a more structured game, the evidence was there before our eyes.” and then he ends of by saying “The surprise is that it took the World Cup holders all season to show signs of beginning to master the intended style of De Villiers”

    So did they master the style or did they change it? Peter Bills seems more undecided than I am.

  • Comment 1, posted at 01.09.08 08:52:43 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : Hell, a huge sigh of relief from me here. I thought for a moment it was only the very old one getting confused, but if the old one are in that state as well…. :grin:

  • Comment 2, posted at 01.09.08 08:59:12 by Silver Fox Reply
    Silver FoxCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Silver Fox (Comment 2) :

    age is a big thing jong :wink:

  • Comment 3, posted at 01.09.08 09:02:59 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • Yeah… a bit confusing…so i’ll just pick what I understood…

    1.Australia’s decision to treat Saturday’s Test match as little more than a game of beach rugby in the sunshine

    Australia was outplayed.

    2.Instead of trying to run everything out of defence, the South Africans used the aerial route to make significant territorial advantages.

    The gameplan was never “to run EVERYTHING from the back”. The difference is our kicks found the hotspots this time instead of going straight to touch.

    3.They made the ball do the work and that was sufficient because there were so many holes in the Australian defence. All they needed to show was an ability to time a pass and exploit space.

    Agree. Credit to our No8 and the centres. FdP’s distribution also improved. Gaps + Overlaps = Tries

    4.there were encouraging signs that some players were starting to learn the intricacies and requirements of their coach’s more fluid game plan.

    Encouraging signs that the coach as well as the players seem to be learning fast.

    5.Instead of constantly going to ground when in possession, players stayed on their feet far more and off-loaded either just before or in the tackle. This meant a momentum, a flow was established and it was far too much for the Wallabies.

    See answer to No. 1

  • Comment 4, posted at 01.09.08 09:38:03 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • @blackshark (Comment 4) :
    .there were encouraging signs that some players were starting to learn the intricacies and requirements of their coach’s more fluid game plan.

    add to that, that maybe the coach has learnt to understand/see what his players are capable of and include those skills in his plan.

  • Comment 5, posted at 01.09.08 09:46:52 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) : Encouraging signs that the coach as well as the players seem to be learning fast.

    Agree…

  • Comment 6, posted at 01.09.08 09:48:30 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • I don’t subscribe to this nonsense that Australia’s hearts weren’t really in it. They had it all to play for. A rare chance to going down in history. Not to mention 5 points on Saturday and all the had to do in Brisbane was stop NZ from scoring 4 tries and not lose by more than 7. We outplayed them in every facet. Well done Mr de Villiers & Boks. :grin:

  • Comment 7, posted at 01.09.08 09:57:03 by McLovin Reply
    McLovinAssistant coach
     
  • In terms of the kicking game, we improved heaps from Cape Town. Have another look at the Newlands test and see how many kicks for territory missed their target.

  • Comment 8, posted at 01.09.08 09:58:15 by McLovin Reply
    McLovinAssistant coach
     
  • @McLovin (Comment 7) : @McLovin (Comment 8) : Agree 100%

  • Comment 9, posted at 01.09.08 09:59:32 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • I watched the match once with commentary form a somewhat senile Hugh Bladen & co. And A second time with Fox sport’s Aus commentators. It was noticable how the Aus commentators bitched about the Boks getting away with holding on, lying over the ball, etc. It seems refs favour the team going forward.

  • Comment 10, posted at 01.09.08 10:01:19 by McLovin Reply
    McLovinAssistant coach
     

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