Pretoria - The Springboks have taken strides in the right direction, but will still need to work on their consistency in terms of controlling Test matches in future.
This was the reaction of Bok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot to his side’s win over Australia which was truly a game of two halves. After some good attacking play and plethora of chances in the first half, the Boks had little control other than to defend their line in the second, eventually walking away with a 23-12 win over the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth.
But while most see consistency as something that comes with winning, the Boks are looking at it differently, and would rather have their performances be consistent, something that has rarely happened since the last Rugby World Cup. The belief is that if they get this right, the results will take care of themselves.
“Test matches develop through the game and you have control and then the opposition has control,” Proudfoot told SuperSport.com.
“When we are talking about consistency is that we are trying to stay in control of the Test match for longer. I think the aspect where we let ourselves down in the second half was our ability to exit well and comfortably.
“We may have put a lot of work on ourselves, we were quite in control in the first half and we let that go so that is the consistency we are after. Consistency of physical performance against a side like Australia, we knew they were going to carry a lot that is what they do. You’ve got to look at traditionally the Tests between Australia and South Africa in South Africa. It is traditionally one of the highest ball in play games and again we were asked to make a lot of tackles against a quality attacking side.
“That is something that is consistent in that we were able to do that. This team is continuously searching for improvement, to be a better side and to control Test matches for longer periods of time. We learn every week and constantly finding that better performance so we are looking forward this week.”
Proudfoot said the Boks don’t need to change a lot, but must be better if they are to beat the All Blacks.
“Just do what we do better, I suppose. I’m not that one that buys into doing different things so we try be better at what we do. They have different nuances as compared to the Australians the way they defend it. I think just winning the ball that is available, they are really good in the air, just winning the ball that is available is the first thing you have to do against them. They challenge you constantly across that whole platform in the air and on the ground, we’ll be better at what we do.”
While the game is sold out and the rugby world waits with bated breath to find out if it was a once-off victory or something that could be a sign for a Bok revival, the Boks are looking at it differently again, believing one game doesn’t determine your season.
“I don’t think one game determines the success of your season or the successes of who you are as an outfit. I think if it was a World Cup final I might answer differently. I think the challenge of the Springboks-All Black game is what makes it special.
“It is 46 players putting their lives in this Test match, just to sit there and watch the players that’s what it’s about. It’s about them, the way they play and put their lives on the line, that intensity. It’s about those 46 guys representing their country and that is what makes this test match special.”
Saturday’s showdown will be seen as more than that by many, and for many across the world, the hope that the chinks in the All Blacks armour are real is a real one. The Boks can not only take a step in consistency to help their own cause, but also one that helps the rugby world less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup.
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