Bok backs to increase ferocity
Ricardo Loubscher (Gallo Images)
Hazyview - While the Springboks looked sharp on attack against Italy last week, backline coach Ricardo Loubscher believes they were not as clinical as they could have been.
“We scored some good tries, but if you look in terms of all the opportunities we still feel we can improve on our execution,” Loubscher said.
“It was a good start for us, but we are still not happy with our performance and there are a lot of areas we feel we can improve on.”
Loubscher said the additional time given to Springbok management this season to set all their plans in motion would be translated into the team’s performance on the field.
“The biggest thing this year compared to last year is planning and time in terms of planning off the field, so we can do some analysis on teams,” Loubscher said.
“Last year we didn’t always have the time, and I felt in terms of our planning, off the field was good.
“It was a good start for us, if you look at the performance of the backs for a start, it was good.”
Last year the Springboks came under increased pressure for their perceived lack of creativity on attack.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s selection of playmaker Willie le Roux at fullback suggested that greater impetus would be placed on attack from the backline.
“Just for the first start it was good for us. It is good to see the guys with the ball in their hands,” Loubscher said.
Four of the Springboks’ five tries against Italy were scored by backline players and their back three looked particularly dangerous.
Loubscher said the plan had always been to score tries but this was dependent on other facets of play.
“The pressure doesn’t change and the plan is always to score tries,” he said.
“But it depends on what the opposition allows you, and areas such as the breakdown, whether you get quick ball.”
The Springboks were sweating over the availability of scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, due to an injury, ahead of their clash against Scotland in Nelspruit on Saturday.
He could be the second halfback to be withdrawn from the squad following Jano Vermaak’s exit from their match against Italy after picking up a hamstring strain.
The Boks, however, still had two backup scrumhalves in Ruan Pienaar and Piet van Zyl, who was called into camp on Sunday.
Pienaar replaced Vermaak in the 60th minute against Italy and he should be the favourite to receive the starting berth at number nine.
“It makes it a bit difficult for us, but we believe that the next person that will come in would be able to make the step up,” Loubscher said.
“We are awaiting news on Francois Hougaard’s injury but we are still excited by whoever could replace him.”