KSA Shark ©

Jean backs sensible rugby

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 21 Aug 2008 at 22:12

You could almost imagine that Jean de Villiers was one of the Springbok critics or fans talking when he was asked to look ahead to Saturday’s Vodacom Tri-Nations match against Australia at Absa Stadium and pinpoint what needed to be changed.

“It is important for us to stop playing too much rugby in our half. We have been playing a hell of a lot of rugby in our own half, and although there have been scoring opportunities that we have created, it is has not helped us,” said De Villiers.

“It is difficult, because last year we won the World Cup playing conservative rugby by kicking the ball when we were in our own half and only running it when we were in attacking positions. People said that we were playing rugby that is unwatchable. But at this level it is about winning, and in the Tri-Nations so far we have seen that it is the team that kicks the most that wins.

“Tactical kicking has played a big role in determining the results of all the games that have been played so far. The All Blacks have kicked the most of any team in the competition, and they top the Tri-Nations log. That does not mean that the rugby has to be boring or unattractive, just that the attacks must come when the attack is on.”

Gavin Rich writes for SuperRugby that De Villiers said that a more pragmatic strategy would not mitigate against the Bok chances of scoring the four tries they would need to obtain the bonus point that would keep them in the Tri-Nations race if they beat the Wallabies in the Durban match.

“When I was captaining the Stormers in the last Super 14 match against the Lions we found to our cost that playing all out running rugby does not on its own bring results. I don’t think it would be a risk for us to look at scoring four tries, for attacking rugby is not always just about running the ball. Field position is important, and playing a structured game.

“If you keep to your structures for the first part of the match, then often you will find that in the last 15 to 20 minutes the game opens up and you have an opportunity to score the tries that you need. It is important though to build a platform first, you have to play off a platform, for the defensive lines of the All Blacks and Australia have just been too good.”

De Villiers said he had been encouraged by the Springbok scrumming last week, and this gave him confidence in his team’s ability to win on Saturday if they stuck to a structured approach.

“The scrumming has been fantastic in the last few weeks (also against Argentina), the forwards have given the backline a fantastic platform to play off,” said De Villiers.

Structure, which has been too often absent from the Bok play this season, of course could also play a big part in solving the problem at the breakdowns, where the South Africans have been found wanting recently.

De Villiers agreed that the solution lay in a collective effort, and was not founded on the notion that it was all up to openside flank Schalk Burger to effect a turn-around.

“Good play at the breakdowns depends on a collective effort, it demands input from all 15 players. The performance at the breakdowns does become more effective if the approach is more structured, for if the game is pre-planned for three or four phases then the players know where they have to be.

“However, it doesn’t always work out as planned, so in the end it all has to come down to decision making.”


  • From another article on N24

    Boks: Deliver or be replaced
    21/08/2008 22:07 – (SA)
    Beeld – Liam Del Carme

    Durban – If players in the South African rugby team do not perform up to expectations, other options will have to be considered, says Jean de Villiers, vice-captain of the Springbok team.

    “This is international rugby. One can’t live in the past. We have to stand up and deliver. If not, some of the guys – me included – will have to be replaced,” De Villiers said here on Thursday.

    With a make-or-break Tri-Nations Test match against Australia awaiting the World Cup champions here on Saturday, De Villiers did not beat about the bush.

    “We’ll have to raise our game. We still have a chance of winning the competition. We must play good rugby and score a few tries for a change.”

    The South Africans have their backs to the wall after losing to New Zealand last week. They must beat the Wallabies and score four tries to earn a bonus point to remain in contention.

    “We must keep on believing,” De Villiers said. “It’s a tough competition.

    “We did not do well last week. Maybe we were not as poor as some people think but we did not score any points. That is not the way we want to play rugby.”

    Wanted to run with every ball

    He also referred to the way the Stormers had botched their chances of reaching this year’s Super 14 semi-finals.

    “When the Stormers needed to score four tries against the Lions in our last Super 14 match we wanted to run with every ball.

    “But one has to stick to your structure for the first 40 minutes. It’s about retaining possession and structure,” the Springbok midfielder said.

    The Springboks would have to go about their task methodically, he said. “When you talk about attacking rugby and the need to score four tries, it does not mean you have to run with the ball at all times.”

    With the exception of the match in Wellington, the Springboks have scrummed well during the series. “That is one of the positive aspects of our game,” De Villiers said.

    “The backs have had a good platform that we have not used well.”

    De Villiers believes his centre combination with Adrian Jacobs has been creative even though they have not much to show for all their hard word.

    “The combination works well. It’s growing. We have often broken the first line of defence but we do not finish well.”

    The Bit i like is One can’t live in the past. We have to stand up and deliver. If not, some of the guys – me included – will have to be replaced,” De Villiers

    THAT is how a Captain speaks!!!!!!!!

    Anyone notice the absence of interviews with Victor Matfield?

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.08.08 22:20:49 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : Yeah, it is an obvious move from Jean’s direction. Cannot say I like it too much, for it smacks of the same thing that took place between him and Burger/Watson at the start of the season down Provinces way. Another great SA trick, backstabbing.

    It will serve everyone to look for a captain beyond the obvious, therefore I still shout Beast for president!

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.08.08 05:47:12 by Silver Fox Reply
    Silver Fox
  • I was busy making another point when my server rudely threw me out. But you will not be spared.

    Just a cople of years ago a similar incident took place. Corne Krige ousted Bob Skinstad the flamboyant. A media cicuss ocurred. Jake white, in a moment of genius stepped in and resolve the matter firmly by opting for hardworking, quiet John Smit as captain dull. Well, we all certainly know what happened next. John at that stage was as controversial as can be, but………. beast, beast, beast

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.08.08 07:22:39 by Silver Fox Reply
    Silver Fox
  • A very sensible fella this de Villiers. 🙂

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.08.08 09:55:57 by McLovin Reply

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