Rugby Championship

Bok forwards showing maturity

2012-09-25 14:20
Johan van Graan (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Springbok forwards coach Johan van Graan says it is not surprising that his young pack has shown signs of maturity after a solid performance against the All Blacks two weeks ago.

Despite going down 21-11 against the world champions, the performance of the forwards has been encouraging.

"We worked hard over the last few weeks and a few combinations settled well," Van Graan said on Tuesday.

"The forwards played well as a combination and the two locks, with Andries (Bekker) coming on, made a huge difference.

"I also think the front row had one of their best performances in a long time..." But he said there were still improvements to be made and was confident the Bok forwards would take further steps in the right direction.

"This will always be a team sport, and the forwards' performance was not perfect, so we always want to improve," he said.

"We lost one or two lineouts and we are looking for 100 percent there.

"I thought the kick-offs and ball retention by the team was good, we had the lowest turnover count this year."

Van Graan said experiments the side had tried out against the All Blacks had already paid dividends and the team would introduce a few more against the Australians this weekend.

"Obviously there were some things we tried in Dunedin that worked well and we are looking at one or two things to try this weekend, but the game plan takes a long time to develop," Van Graan said.

"I thought against Australia in Perth we might have been a bit predictable... especially our second runners.

"If you watched the New Zealand Test closely there were one or two tweaks; Frans Steyn got a lot of momentum in the first channel on (Aaron) Cruden."

It was evident in their match against New Zealand two weeks ago that the forwards started to gel as they established go-forward ball for the backline.

The team could, however, not convert their opportunities into points, which the team had worked on in training this week.

"Australia and New Zealand invite you into the 15 metres (area) and they like to counter-ruck you there and create slow ball, and then press you in the midfield," he said.

"We’ve worked hard with our outside backs in their decision-making and hopefully it will be better this weekend."

Tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis, who is - with 37 Test caps behind his name - one of the most experienced forwards in the team, said the pack was more than capable of holding their own against any opposition.

"This Springbok pack could stand up to any of those packs and can match them physically and in terms of skill," Du Plessis said.

"So although it is new for a number of players, the new players are special and have already stepped up to a higher level of rugby, and they have performed consistently for nine months now."

He said the inexperience among the forwards could count in their favour, provided they believed in their own abilities.

"You could pick a young pack with players who are hungry and they could play better than guys with a 100 Tests and feel that they have been there and done that," he said.

"So you need that little bit of inexperience because it creates hunger -- and a hungry dog hunts best."

Read more on:    springboks  |  rugby championship  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Breaking News

Saturday, 20 July 2019
South Africa v Australia, Emirates Airline Park 18:05
Saturday, 27 July 2019
New Zealand v South Africa, Westpac Stadium 10:35
Saturday, 10 August 2019
Argentina v South Africa, Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena 22:40

Your thoughts on the booing and singing during the All Blacks' haka prior to Tests?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.