Bloemfontein - The team that wins the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019 will have to be clinical when attacking from open play, says Springbok backline coach Franco Smith.
In the past, defence has been seen as critical in winning a World Cup and the scores in the majority of the tournament finals over the years confirm that.
But with the game continuing to evolve, sides are looking to launch attacks from anywhere and everywhere and Smith believes that perfecting the art of attack from open play will be hugely important in 2019.
"I think the team that gels the best at the World Cup in general attack is going to score the tries ... not the best drives or the best lineout," he said from Bloemfontein, where the Boks are preparing for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies.
"It's going to be who keeps the ball and who gets over the line. To me that is what makes a good team ... when teams start to understand who is going to carry and who is going to pass, how deep we must stand ... there are a lot of factors.
"I believe winning the World Cup in 2019 will be about the team whose general attack is best developed. Because 90 percent of the game consists of general attack from anywhere."
It is a philosophy that the Boks have been looking to implement since the beginning of the year, Smith says.
The emphasis remains ball-in-hand rugby, but Smith knows that it will not happen overnight.
"We will really need to develop as a group in that," he said.
"I know it takes a bit of time, and obviously at Test level we don’t have that time, or that luxury. So every moment’s training, or even in the games ahead we need to gel together as a team and get our shape as quickly as possible."
Defence, though, would still be key for the Boks in Japan.
"If you look at the scoreboards lately across the world, it looks like scoring tries has become the main emphasis. The rules of the game at this stage lean slightly towards that," Smith said.
"I still believe that the team with the best defence will give himself the chance to win the game, but they will not score tries."
Two weekends ago, the Boks were kept scoreless against the All Blacks in Albany in a performance that did little to suggest they were on the right track attack-wise.
On Saturday against the Wallabies, only tries will do.
Follow Sport24's @LloydBurnard for live updates from Bloemfontein...