Rugby Championship

Do Boks understand finer nuances?

2014-08-28 09:24
Jannie du Plessis (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Retired South African referee Jonathan Kaplan has questioned whether the Springboks understand the nuances at scrums and breakdowns.

Despite winning 33-31 in Salta at the weekend, the Bok front row suffered humiliation at the hands of Argentina, with the reputations of Jannie du Plessis and Gurthro Steenkamp taking serious body blows.

Kaplan noted this when he analysed the Boks' performance on his website,

He lauded the team for showing character in fighting back to overturn a 28-16 deficit in the second half, but also highlighted a few worrying aspects.

Kaplan wrote: "The Boks scraped through against the Pumas. This has happened before but it is the quality of the two performances which really worry me. As I said earlier, if you look at the Super Rugby log, it gives a fair indication of where we are.

"We are not playing to our true potential. We are not playing quality rugby. Our scrum was bullied and shunted around… We certainly don’t hold any worries for this Puma outfit and I doubt the others will be shivering in their boots either. We leak points very poorly for a top international team and I wonder about our understanding of the nuances of the scrum and the breakdown and whether we are able to adapt strategy to outcomes on the field.

"Of course we showed huge character to come back from that deficit and that is a big plus but we have always had that. We are a proud rugby nation who is one of the best. We don’t like losing, so that was inevitable. The point is, if our intensity and strategy were good from the outset, we wouldn’t have found ourselves there in the first place. We really do need to understand this if we want to topple the mighty All Blacks.

"Speaking of whom, (the All Blacks) put in one of the best performances seen in ages. They beat a good Wallaby team… No they smoked them! This was vintage ABs. They came with a game plan to improve on their performance of the previous weekend executed it to perfection. The fact that a player got yellow carded meant little. They have few discernible weaknesses and it will take a good team to break them down. At home they are virtually unbeatable and you can see that they are everyone’s favourites for the Championship now."

The Springboks' next Rugby Championship clash is against Australia in Perth on September 6.

Springbok squad to travel to Australasia:

Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lodewyk de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Marcel van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen

Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn


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