Boks on Tour

Mitchell: Boks still have time

2010-11-25 07:29
John Mitchell (Gallo)
Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg -  Two former Test rugby coaches, John Mitchell and Eddie Jones, believe the main reasons for the Boks struggle overseas is that they are unable to establish their own playing style with the new rule changes as well as peculiar team selections.

Mitchell, a former All Black coach who these days coaches the Lions in Johannesburg, says there is still time for the Springboks to fix matters before the World Cup but that they will have to work quickly.

That is why he doesn't think that South Africa needs to start panicking after Saturday's poor performance and defeat against Scotland in Edinburgh.

"England have shown that you can take an older team to the World Cup."

"There is of course still time (for the Boks) to fix matters, but time is running out."

The English made the 2007 World Cup final by picking old hands like Jason Robinson, Mike Catt, Andy Gomarsall, Ben Kay and Lawrence Dallaglio.

South Africa's version of these players in terms of experience, are men like Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, John Smit, Juan Smith, Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana.

To make big changes to the squad now will not provide a solution, says Mitchell.

"I think they have to look at their style of rugby and especially the new rules at the breakdown."

South Africa were punished several times in this department in the match against Scotland.

Jones, a former Wallabies coach, also criticised the Boks' playing style after the Scottish tragedy.

"It is still the same as in the Three Nations," he told rugbyxv.co.za.

"They can't decide how they want to play. With the new rules most of the teams have decided how they want to play."

"I don't think that the Boks believe in the way they play at all. It influences the team and that is why their attacking is also so one dimensional," says Jones.

Jones does believe that the Boks will beat England on Saturday,though, but thinks that the underlying problems won't go away.
"They like to play against England and always want to win there."

"South Africa will play with passion and have a good chance of winning, but their problems won't go away as a result, despite what happens."

"You can deliver one passionate performance at the end of the season but it won't hide the problems."

Jones also thinks that the Boks team selection leaves a lot to be desired.

"You have to wonder why smaller loose forwards like Deon Stegmann and Ryan Kankowski were chosen in wet conditions against big Scottish forwards. If you wanted to select Kankowski, you should have done it against Wales."

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