Monty: Boks must kick less
Percy Montgomery (Gallo Images)
Brisbane – It’s not every day that the kicking coach of a team advises his players to kick less, but that is Percy Montgomery’s advice to the Springboks ahead of Saturday’s Test against the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium.
And the most experienced Springbok of all time believes the Boks should call on their traditional strength of fierce tackling and get stuck into the Wallabies.
“I’m worried that we have neglected the basics a little. It’s little things here and there, but the end result is not good,” says Montgomery.
The highest points-scorer in the history of Bok rugby believes South Africa kicked too much especially in the first Test against the All Blacks in Auckland and poor execution gave New Zealand attacking opportunities. It must not happen against the Wallabies.
“I want us to kick less against the Wallabies and carry the ball more. The kicks will also have to be a lot better than has been the case up to now,” says Montgomery.
He says it’s the players’ kicking out of hand, in particular, that has not been good.
“The second week was much better. We pointed it out to the players after the Test in Auckland and the statistics from the second Test shows how much better we were. The last thing the players should have done was to kick the ball away. And that’s precisely what we did.”
Montgomery believes more pressure is needed on the catchers.
“The chase of the kick is just as important and that is another area in which I expect a major improvement. It cannot be measured by statistics. It’s an attitude and I’m happy that we are improving. We could get away with it against Italy, but not against the All Blacks. We have to go back to the basics.”
One of those is defence.
“I believe defence wins you competitions. Big tackles have always been part of the Springboks’ gameplan and I believe it should always remain part of our game,” says Montgomery.
He is happy with the available talent at fullback.
“I believe we are doing well. We have someone like Frans Steyn playing in France and he can still return for the World Cup. We also have Zane Kirchner and Gio Aplon,” says Montgomery.
He is impressed by Aplon’s attacking abilities.
“Gio excites me, but I should add that Zane is also doing well. They are different kinds of players and both can still be there for a while.”
Montgomery believes the Wallaby halfback pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper will be the big dangermen in Saturday’s Test.
“Their footwork is good. In fact, the Wallabies’ backs all have good sidesteps and we will have to watch them. They are a young team and will surely look to carry the ball.”
Montgomery believes the Boks deserve criticism, but is surprised by how heavy it has been in South Africa.
“People don’t realise how difficult it is to win here. The guys really want to win and will give everything on Saturday again to emerge victorious.”