I’m looking furiously all over the internet today for any signs of the legion of SA rugby scribes who, just a few short weeks ago, took delight in devoting so many column inches to just exactly how out of his depth Peter de Villiers was as Springbok coach. Has anyone seen any of them?
It seems now that de Villiers has, yet again, done something which no other SA coach since readmission has managed to do, in beating the All Blacks in successive tests, the rabble has gone strangely quiet. Licking their wounds, perhaps? Or meeting in secret, plotting and planning the next assault. Perhaps they’ll cook up yet another “sex tape” scandal… or will it be more serious this time?
Let’s just have a look, shall we? First Bok coach (ever) to record a victory over the All Blacks at Carisbrook? Check. Beating England by a record margin at Twickenham? Check. First Bok coach to win a series against the Lions in 19 years? Check. And then the back-to-back victories over the All Blacks… it just gets better.
What to me was even more satisfying, though, was that de Villiers’ Boks used Jake White’s own game plan on Saturday, yet the much maligned coach got the team to execute it far better than they had ever done in the White era! The addition of a superb fetcher in Heinrich Brüssow has added another dimension to the pressure game that White sought to perfect – a trick that he missed for so many years. The Boks simply did it perfectly. Launched the bombs, chased the kicks, applied the pressure and waited for the All Blacks to implode. And they did. Spectacularly. Messily. All over the field.
It was the right game to play against this opposition and in these conditions. Will the Boks be smart enough to realise, though, that the attacking game is still very much an option – in fact, a necessity – and needs to be part of the arsenal. Saturday’s game was a perfect execution of the Boks’ “wet weather game”. In Australia, there’ll be at least two opportunities to show that the “dry weather game” is just as effective. The real challenge for the coaching staff is to ensure that the right players are kept in the system to allow them to execute either, as appropriate.
Well done, Peter de Villiers! You’re shutting them up, all right.Tweet