Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 31-31 draw against the Barbarians at London’s Wembley Stadium:
1. Set piece dominance
The most positive aspect to come out of Saturday’s Springbok performance was their dominance at set-pieces. The Boks were far superior in the scrums and lineouts and it provided them with a platform to put pressure on the Barbarians.
I wrote a column last week calling on coach Allister Coetzee to employ more of the driving maul. ‘Toetie’ obliged and it helped save his team more embarrassment. There was some structure to the Boks, but the alarming fact is that apart from the set-pieces, the they did no assert themselves in other areas.
2. Bok breakdown woes
The Springboks conceded a whopping 25 turnovers on Saturday!
This statistic is catastrophic in a game against the Barbarians and it’s no wonder the invitation side ran in five tries.
As a combination, Oupa Mohoje and Nizaam Carr were not instrumental enough and while rookie Roelof Smit made some key turnovers, this area remains a serious worry for Coetzee ahead of Saturday’s Test against England at Twickenham.
3. Mismatch out on the wing
Giant Wallaby wing Taqele Naiyaravoro ensured that Sergeal Petersen’s first outing in a Springbok jersey was a torrid one, well for most parts.
Physically, it was a mismatch, with Naiyaravoro weighing 125kg compared to Petersen’s 82kg.
Petersen struggled on defence against his much bigger opponent, who turned in a man-of-the-match performance with several barn-storming runs, which included a try.
Petersen did show his worth though with a brilliant solo try early in the second half when he broke through from inside his own half, dodging several BaaBaas defenders, including the big Naiyaravoro, who’s not as effective when forced to retreat...
4. Bok midfield gusto
Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Francois Venter’s combination in midfield was a welcome sight.
Janse van Rensburg, in particular, got the Boks on the front-foot on several occasions and the announcement on Sunday that he would remain with the team for the rest of the tour - as injury cover for Jesse Kriel - was particularly pleasing.
The Boks have largely struggled in midfield this year, and as our chief writer Rob Houwing noted in his post-match ratings, the duo “offered more punch than has been demonstrated by any other twelve and thirteen alliance for the Boks during 2016”.
5. Daunting task awaits Boks at Twickenham
This weekend’s Springbok team to tackle England will differ somewhat to the one which faced the Barbarians, but unfortunately that’s not much of a comfort for me.
Apart from the set-piece dominance, the team would not have taken much confidence from the match against the Barbarians.
The breakdown woes have been mentioned and the defensive frailties remain, while the ease with which the BaaBaas dominated the collisions should be a worry for coach Coetzee.
The Springboks still look uncertain of what game plan to employ and this weekend they face a team coached by a man who certainly knows what it takes to beat them.
England have won 'nine Tests on the trot since Eddie Jones took over and would be firm favourites to make it 10...