Boks: Adaptability key for Arg
Ricardo Loubscher (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok backline coach Ricardo Loubscher says the way the teams adapt to the conditions will determine the winner in the opening Rugby Championship Test against Argentina at Newlands next Saturday.
"We have a gameplan, but if the conditions are different from what we're expecting, then we'll switch to a plan B," said Loubscher in Cape Town on Sunday.
"The key is to adapt to the conditions so that we are able to turn opportunities into points."
Loubscher said they were expecting a very physical game from the Argentineans, whose backline thrive on space and width.
"The Argentineans love to run with the ball and if they are allowed to, they can be very dangerous," he said.
"We've looked at the Pampas XV in the Vodacom Cup over the past two seasons and it gives us an idea of what to expect from their backline.
"Their Test team hasn't played too often, so we do not know too much of them as a unit."
The Pampas XV team is composed from members of the High Performance Plan of the Argentine Rugby Union.
"At this stage the focus in entirely on the first game, and we want to tick all the boxes in terms of how we want to play and with what they are likely to come at us," Loubscher said.
"It looks like it could be wet at Newlands and, if that's the case, it will call for accuracy in our kicking.
"At Test level, kicking is a big part of the game and it's an area we are working hard at.
"It is not only about accuracy but also the fielding of it (the kicks)."
The Boks will be without the injured JP Pietersen, who this season has established himself as one of the world's finest backline players.
"JP will be a big loss but the same time it gives others a chance to establish themselves in the Bok team," he said.
"The guys in the squad view his absence as a challenge and that creates a healthy environment."
The return of Francois Steyn, after his recent wedding, will bolster the South African backline.
"Steyn is a big part of our plans and he stands out as one of the big ball carriers in the side," said Loubscher.
"With his ability it's great having him at inside centre but he's happy to play wherever he's needed.
"I'm happier to have Jean (de Villiers) at outside centre because it's likely that by the time he gets the ball, he'll have space and time.
"It's also good to have a leader out wide."
Much has been said about the average form of flyhalf Morné Steyn after the England Tests but Loubscher said he was still a highly-rated player.
"I've worked with Morné for the past few years and I know what he has to offer," said Loubscher.
"His excellent distribution skills was in evidence against England and he had a hand in some of the tries we scored.
"We'll soon see Morné at his best again."