Rugby Championship

Plumtree not sure Bok defence will hold up

2017-09-14 13:42
John Plumtree (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree believes the Springboks' defensive system won't cope with the load the All Blacks unleash in Saturday's Rugby Championship Test at Albany. 

Plumtree in a column for SA Rugbymag agreed with the assessment of former Springbok coach Nick Mallett who claimed the South African defence was too passive and sat back too much. 

"If you sit back against the All Blacks' attack and allow them to play, they will find a way to break you down eventually. The problem with that defensive system is it allows the opposition to keep the ball for a long period of time. The All Blacks will be ruthless if the Boks' numbers are down on defence," Plumtree wrote.

"Against the All Blacks, you have to take a few risks defensively and rush them. But that's not the Boks' defensive system and they won't be able to change it in a short space of time.

"The Boks will defend without coming forward on Saturday, so the All Blacks will be wary of the choke tackle (it's the Boks strength to choke the ball-carrier)."

New Zealand's game would be about building pressure by holding onto the ball to create a mismatch. 

While the All Blacks hadn't been at peak efficiency in the Championship there had been periods where both the Wallabies and the Pumas had been able to use that to their own advantage, but they had not been able to sustain the pressure for long enough. 

"It's all well and good to have a great 20-minute patch against the All Blacks, but to beat them, you need to have a great 60-70 minutes. You always know the All Blacks will come back at some stage of the match, and you have to be able to defend well enough when they do," Plumtree continued.

Plumtree is familiar with the South African rugby scene having spent several years at the Sharks, both as a player and a coach.

He played for Natal (as the Sharks were then called) from 1988 until 1997 and coached the Sharks between 2008 and 2012.

Plumtree has been the Hurricanes' assistant coach since 2015 and helped the franchise to their first Super Rugby title in 2016.

Saturday's Test is scheduled for 09:35 (SA time).

Teams:

New Zealand

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende

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