Rugby Championship

Mitchell: Boks should attack NZ's small men

2017-09-15 14:00
John Mitchell (Gallo)

Cape Town - John Mitchell has identified an area the Springboks should target in their Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks in Albany on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.

New Zealander Mitchell, who is currently the Bulls’ executive of rugby, believes tactical kicking will be of utmost importance.

According to Mitchell, the Springboks should look to take advantage of the fact that two players in New Zealand’s back three - fullback Damian McKenzie and wing Nehe Milner-Skudder - are not the biggest by international standards.

In an interview with, Mitchell said the Springboks should kick to contest.

“McKenzie is a brave outside back, but he is tiny, so if you can bring him forward... Milner-Skudder is not also a tall outside back, when they used to have (Israel) Dagg, (Ben) Smith and (Rieko) Ioane - they were all tall catching wingers, and they were all selected because of that contestable kick. If I was the Boks, I’d be technically smart in that area and attack their small men.”

Execution will however be vital when the Springboks kick, Mitchell warned.

“If the Boks over-kick through pressure, and give the All Blacks freedom in kick-counter you will see a different All Black side.”

Mitchell, who coached the All Blacks between 2001 and 2003, said he felt the Boks were in with a sniff in this match.

“If the Boks have got an opportunity it is in this Test match. The (British and Irish) Lions proved that if you can slow down the All Blacks’ delivery at lineouts you will unsettle them.

“That (QBE Stadium in North Harbour) is not the greatest of venues in the world, to put it mildly. I think the Springboks will be more excited to play there than the All Blacks."


New Zealand

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende

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