Pretoria - Springbok legend and popular rugby pundit Naas Botha believes South Africa made an important evolutionary change in their game plan in their defeat to the All Blacks in Johannesburg last weekend.
Botha believes Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer needs to persist with the enterprising style adopted - something he believes is long overdue.
“What we saw on Saturday was totally different compared to what we’ve seen over the last couple of years but it should have happened two years ago,” Botha said in Midrand on Wednesday.
“I don’t think it is too late, I believe we should build on this now because what we saw over the weekend was quite impressive.
“Yes, we didn’t win and to be honest it is all about winning and they did surprise us with that last lineout.”
Botha was speaking at the launch of Creative Rugby which he co-wrote with Dr Kobus Neethling, a world leader in the field of creativity and whole-brain thinking.
The premise of the book is to promote whole-brain thinking, with modern players now on the same level in terms of fitness and skills.
“Rugby has excelled to such an extent that it has become crucial for elite teams to challenge each other from the left brain perspective,” former Springbok lock Kobus Wiese said in the foreword.
“Players are all playing predictable rugby. That is why creativity and whole-brain thinking are so vital on the field to give them that necessary edge.”
The book explores what different brain profiles would best fit the different positions on the rugby field while also discussing the profiles of Springboks such as Bismarck du Plessis, Victor Matfield and Jean de Villiers.
Botha said South Africa had more than enough talent to dominate world rugby but somehow struggled to get over the final hurdle.
“All the players lately are fast and strong but what will make the one better than the other?” Botha said.
“I strongly believe the difference is between the ears and a lot of talent gets lost because the coaches don’t fully understand their players.”
The former Blue Bulls pivot said South African coaches’ obsession with game plans were stifling talent in the country.
“We have gone overboard with game plans and some fantastic (players) go out of junior rugby into senior rugby and they disappear into game plans,” he said.
“Morne Steyn was a centre and in my book a centre needs to be creative. He got characterised years later as only a kicking flyhalf. Was he really just a kicking flyhalf or was it the game plan that forced him to play the way he did? Good players disappear because of game plans.”