Kiwi coach praises Bok defence

2011-08-21 13:47

Port Elizabeth - South Africa's resolute defence was hailed as the difference between the teams after the Springboks beat the All Blacks 18-5 in a Tri-Nations Test at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Saturday.

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In their final match before next month's World Cup, the defending champions' forwards, in particular, turned in a powerful performance against what was effectively a New Zealand second-string team.

"South Africa played with a lot of physicality and passion," said New Zealand coach Graham Henry.

"They scrambled in defence very well. We created probably six opportunities to score and only converted one of them. That was frustrating."

"I'll go to war with these guys," said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, adding that South Africa's victory was a just reward despite the fact that all their points came from the boot of fly-half Morné Steyn, who landed all five penalty goal attempts as well as a drop goal.

New Zealand scored the only try of the match, through centre Richard Kahui, but several times were stopped almost within touching distance of the try-line as South Africa tackled ferociously.

In making his statement about going to war, De Villiers singled out stand-in captain Victor Matfield, who he said had played the last half hour of the match with an unspecified injury and flank Heinrich Brüssow, who had to leave the field with blood pouring from his face but returned 14 minutes later to turn in a man-of-the-match performance.

De Villiers also praised Steyn, who landed three long-range penalties to give South Africa a 9-0 lead after 18 minutes. They were killer blows at a time when the All Blacks were playing most of the attacking rugby and had three times threatened to score tries.

Steyn's place had seemed under threat after a mediocre season but, reunited with scrumhalf Fourie du Preez for the first time in a Test match since 2009, he turned in a commanding performance.

With South Africa leading 15-5 at half-time, he effectively shut the All Blacks out of the game with his tactical kicking in the second half.

De Villiers said he had never questioned Steyn's ability, despite playing Patrick Lambie and Butch James ahead of him in earlier Tri-Nations matches.

"Morné is a very good rugby player. He's still our number one. He knows now that he's very important to the team and he can take the team through the World Cup if he's on song."

Lambie, who started at full-back, was an injury concern for the Springboks, leaving the field with a shoulder injury after 20 minutes. De Villiers said he would wait for a report from his medical team before commenting on the injury.

Matfield started the game ahead of regular captain John Smit, who came on as a second-half replacement, and he said the Springboks had needed the win after losing their first three matches in the tournament.

"We felt the pressure and it wasn't easy. A lot of people were doubting us. This is great for the confidence."

But Matfield said his team still needed to work hard before the World Cup.

"There is still (room for) a lot of improvement. We want to get even better. We'll look at the video session and work on the detail."

New Zealand coach Graham Henry admitted the Springboks had outplayed his team but said he had no regrets about leaving nine of New Zealand's leading players at home to rest ahead of the World Cup.

"We made some big decisions some time ago and I'm happy with that. It gave some players the opportunity to play today. We had a look at the big picture and the future."

Henry said a lack of maturity and the patience to build attacking moves had hurt the All Blacks' chances, but fielding some fringe players had been a useful exercise ahead of the announcement of the World Cup squad on Tuesday.

Henry said the defeat would not shake New Zealand's belief in their attacking style of play.

"We created a lot of opportunities to do the business. The game that we are playing has got distinct possibilities."


  • Maori - 2011-08-21 13:50

    Well done boks! See you down under!

      Makutu - 2011-08-21 14:48

      Had John Smit been there, we'd be singing a different tune. Him and Danie Rossouw are becoming missed tackles specialist these days...

      Joe Soap - 2011-08-21 16:47

      @Makutu - in fairness, you can add Victor to that list. Big Vic is well off the pace, ineffective and another of the many passengers.

      Taetjo - 2011-08-21 18:48

      Joe Soap! Go to Check out Victor's stats for this year. Look how many tackles he missed compared to John Smit.

      hawk - 2011-08-22 06:31

      So tell me Joe Soap who would you play in Victors place, Mr Convener?

      Wormtongue - 2011-08-22 07:10

      Remember to pack in your fake black jersey and try and fake that McCaw accent. And remember that claining that you are a real Maori may well cost you your front teeth in a bar. Enjoy your journey faker! Bwahahahahahahahahahaha

  • haha - 2011-08-21 13:59

    What game did P de Villiers watch? He must have had a wet dream of going to war while the rest of the world watched the game.

  • marco - 2011-08-21 14:18

    Problem with PDV is that he can't make up his mind who his best 15 are,not necessarily his first choice players but his BEST players the emphasis here being on the word BEST.Instead he keeps changing his mind the very last minute when picking a team and then too by playing people out of their position is simply ridiculous and not acceptable by any stretch of imagination.Until then he will never be considered by any rugby pundit to be say a Alex Ferguson,Jose Mourinho or Barcelona's Pep Guardiola of rugby.Listening to rugby pundits Jeremy Guscott, Jonathan Davies,Keith Wood yesterday after the France vs Ireland game on talking about your best team for the World Cup,PDV would do well to listen a little bit himself to the points these guys raised albeit being about the Northern Hemisphere's Teams,still in principle it make for good wakeup call in the Springbok camp.One victory yesterday over a second string All Black side don't paint over the cracks we still find inside the Bok team and what's been fundamentally wrong with the Bok management team and their SARU bosses since the end of 2009 season.Steyn might have saved the Springboks from an embarrassing whitewash yesterday but there are other serious issues inside the Bok camp related to their try scoring inability yesterday and last week in Durban and teams that can match Steyn's abilities with the boot will expose the Boks at those other parts of their game structure

      Makutu - 2011-08-21 15:01

      lol! Sometimes I don't blame the coach. You know that There is a lot of talent in SA. Way way too much talent!

      slg - 2011-08-22 05:27

      That's because he doesn't know. He's never coached at this level before. It's not something that one learns in a few years. It has to be honed over many seasons, which our coach has never done.

  • slg - 2011-08-21 14:18

    De Villiers' expletives are sad. This was the AB's second string team. What has come of our rugby.

      Francois Lee - 2011-08-22 07:31

      @sig : He's never coached at this level before... Nor has any of his predecessors!!!! This was the AB's second string team.... There is no such thing as an All Black second string, ask any AB supporter!!! If you're a true Springbok Supporter(What has come of OUR rugby), you will support the Coach, whether he's bad or good or below par.. If you're not a Springbok supporter, then .......

      slg - 2011-08-22 09:51

      I don't believe in blind loyalty. That I think is immature and foolish.

  • Anthony - 2011-08-21 14:24

    pension off jean de villires , bring in de jongh and start scoring ties, or kiss the rwc goodbye.

      donkerhond - 2011-08-21 15:02

      De Jong is also pretty guilty lately of not passing the ball when he gets it.

  • Grunk - 2011-08-21 14:44

    Where are we going to find our tries (even 1 try) from? With TO ball, you need somebody like (pretorius preferably) or Hougaard at the base to make the essential snipes to star the counter. In Du Preez I regret to say that all you get, these days, is a badly placed up and under. De jongh would have to replace DE villiers at centre but he has not got the presence of De Villiers generally at the moment. To me the only potential is for Alberts and Johnson to make what they can of the situation (Spies didn't carry on with his sudden form resurgence last week)) and try and create the forward momentum nfrom Brussouw's hard work - hopefully, please God, with Bismarck instead of Smit - to back them up. Why Alberts was replaced just as he was starting to have a real impact on the match, only Snor will know.

  • Joe Soap - 2011-08-21 16:15

    Best part of the game was the crowd singing Ole-Ole while the AB's attempted their Haka. For a change the whole world didn't hold their breath while the AB's psyched themselves up.

      Joe Soap - 2011-08-21 16:51

      Hello Joe?

      wood - 2011-08-21 17:59

      Joe.Expensive day for you if that was the best part. Like the haka or not thats all totally subjective. What puzzles me is why the crowd to float their boats need to resort to a moronic soccer chant to express their feelings to the opposition.Whats next ,mooning the national anthems.

      Blizzard - 2011-08-22 14:49

      Yeah, a stolen football chant that half the crowd probably don't even know where it orginated from. It doesn't even make sense

  • jomi - 2011-08-21 18:34

    Hey man, as ek so lees na al hierdie engelse comments, dan is dit duidelik dat of sokker of netbal dalk jou speciality moet wees.LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Igenatius - 2011-08-21 18:34

    Is it really just me that thought it really was not such a spectacular game? We still missed a bunch of tackles. We are still running straight at the opposition instead of trying to hit the gaps. The guys are not passing the ball around, there is often a player screaming for the ball then they rather commit and go down. Last but not least (and it has been a problem for a while now), we are still not scoring tries.

      Blizzard - 2011-08-22 12:33

      Agree, Div actually may have had more concerns from this game than Henry. Yes the win was imperative, try-line defense was good but the lack of any backline move is a concern, de Villiers's line break late in the game the only one of note I can recall, but that's what happens when you play with a flyhalf playing 20 metres behind his pack. Too much old crocks with ego's in this team. This could be a 3rd triumph for the Aussies

  • Russell - 2011-08-21 19:31

    Steyn won the game for us with his goal kicking, but the wings never saw the ball. Do we need wings with him at flyhalf, or are they needed to sprint to the corners to make try saving tackles all game long? It was like watching Northern Transvaal back in the 80's with Naas playing 10 man rugby. I cannot see us winning many games without scoring tries. We need to be able to cross the tryline at times. I am not a Steyn fan, but understand he is a great kicker but we need to get the ball wide too. I would prefer Butch at flyhalf, even though we might not have a goal kicker of Steyn's caliber in the side, but if we score tries, we should be okay to get the win.

      Kleinboet - 2011-08-21 19:56

      Reading "Rapport" today I noticed that NZ has scored the most tries in world cup rugby, yet they have only one cup. It is defence, pressure resulting in penalties and accurate goalkicking that win world cups. Granted, tries must be scored as well but they come as bonuses when the opponent yields to pressure. I'm satisfied that Steyn is our man, rather than James. It was penalty kicks that saved the day last Saturday. The ABs created more try scoring opportunities, but that did not bring them points. That just show you the value of good defence! It is scoring points when you are in your opponetnt's half that win matches and penalties give you those opportunities. (The one try that they did score was from a forward pass ~ if I understood correctly! Personally I cannot vouch for it, though.)

      Krueger - 2011-08-22 13:09

      Wait, let me get this straight: Steyn is the reason why the ball is not reaching the wings!? Wow, thanks for clearing that up mate! Stupid me, I thought it was because our centers, nl Jean "Off day" De Villiers and Jacques "I fink i is best 13" Fourie was playing "stampkar" rugby. That is if or when they're able to catch the ball.

      Russell - 2011-08-22 16:58

      @Krueger....thanks for the sarcasm...$%@hole. But look at the times Steyn kicked the ball, as to passed to the centres. A lot more kicking than passing, but you obviously neglected to realise that. WOW!!!

  • Robinson Caruso - 2011-08-21 19:50

    Its just like Naas has said: "the team who scores the most tries will win" He said that on TV (on the other hand Darren) Just in case we forgot.... BUT...he was right! We need to get down in the with patience...then GIVE the ball to Beast...Or Pierre...or Morne...or Bakkies..Or any other big mother....and score @ tries. Then we will win wc 2011...we must do the big stuff up front in 2011...let Bryan bring the sugar

      Krueger - 2011-08-22 13:12

      Correction: "the team that scores the most points win"

  • Gavin Grierson - 2011-08-22 08:12

    How about moving Steyn to fullback and Butch at flyhalf ? We are kicking away too much possesion with Steyn at flyhalf. With this move we will have an attacking flyhalf and a good goalkicker. Thoughts ?

  • MB1810 - 2011-08-22 09:56

    I didn't think the defense was that great, great scrambling definately, but way too many missed tackles.

      BringITon007 - 2011-08-22 10:04

      33 tackles missed by boks - If I was Henry I would also laud them for their defence? Would not want them to miss only 8 or 9 tackles @ the WC!!! That could cost the AB's... LOL

  • Blizzard - 2011-08-22 11:17

    All in all you cannot read too much into either of the NZ v Bok games as both visiting sides fielded understrength teams in their respective away legs. If the Boks are happy about beting a side lacking cohesion and structure, having your line broken 5 times, and facing a team of, realistically speaking individuals(cos let's face it all these guys were playing for places in Henry's squad) then I think you're dreaming. Two things of note that happened, Henry realised who the nucleus of his squad is, and for once, complacency has gone out the window with this loss cos now he knows there's still alot of work to be done(especially tight 5) and maybe backup flyhalf as Colin Slade didn't put on the best show. Let's see what happens WC time, and for goodness sake, don't forget the Aussies who are always a threat

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