SA need to tie th­ese ‘kan­ga­roos’ down ...

Saturday Star - - SPORT -

IF THE Spring­boks are to out­wit and out­play the Wal­la­bies in their Rugby Cham­pi­onship en­counter at the nib Sta­dium in Perth to­day then they will have to en­sure that they keep a close eye on the quar­tet of Michael Hooper, Will Ge­nia, Kurt­ley Beale and Is­rael Fo­lau,

Ngob­eni. writes Vata

The four in­flu­en­tial Aus­tralians showed the danger they will pose to the Spring­boks in their 35-29 loss against the All Blacks in Dunedin a fort­night ago, and if not kept in check, they have the abil­ity to end the Boks’ five­match win­ning streak.

In­de­pen­dent Me­dia rugby writer Vata Ngob­eni takes a closer look at the four Aussie dan­ger­men. amongst the pack makes him ex­tremely ef­fec­tive when the game opens up, and he is a dis­rup­tive fig­ure at the break­down. Hooper is at his best with ball in hand, look­ing for spa­ces amongst the for­wards, and he pro­vides the per­fect linkman be­tween the for­wards and backs.

His size re­mains a dis­ad­van­tage when com­pared to his peers on the flank in world rugby and he can be­come re­dun­dant in tighter and more phys­i­cal games. The Springbok big men will do well to run at him all day as they are al­most guar­an­teed to get over the ad­van­tage line.

Weak­nesses: Strengths:

He is one of the most in­tel­li­gent rugby play­ers on the planet and what he lacks in size and phys­i­cal pres­ence, he more than makes up for it with his su­pe­rior rugby brain. Equipped with a solid pass and the abil­ity to snipe around the rucks and do so with speed, Ge­nia has shown a timely re­turn to form that makes him a ma­jor threat to the Bok de­fence.

Just like many scrumhalves in world rugby, Ge­nia is lethal on at­tack but is al­most non-ex­is­tent on de­fence, which will cer­tainly be an area the Spring­boks will tar­get.

Weak­nesses: Strengths:

A dev­as­tat­ing ball car­rier who isn’t scared to mix it up with the big boys. Beale’s strength comes from his abil­ity to run into space and cre­ate that very space for his out­side backs. He’s the heart­beat of the Aussie at­tack and hav­ing played fly­half pre­vi­ously, he can vary his game with deft chips and grub­bers.

The tem­per­a­men­tal Beale blows hot and cold

Weak­nesses:

and it is his lapses in con­cen­tra­tion that make him vul­ner­a­ble. Starve him of mean­ing­ful pos­ses­sion and half the job is done.

Strengths:

Don’t give him space, as he is dan­ger­ous when join­ing the back­line at pace. His hefty and men­ac­ing frame usu­ally takes more than one de­fender to take down, which sucks in op­po­si­tion de­fend­ers. His su­pe­rior aerial skills adds another di­men­sion to the Wal­la­bies’ at­tack and is a weapon the Aus­tralians will ex­ploit against smaller wings like Court­nall Skosan and Ray­mond Rhule.

Weak­nesses:

Fo­lau doesn’t en­joy the dirty work that comes with tight matches and is of­ten found flat-footed on de­fence. Like his team-mates who ex­cel with ball in hand, Fo­lau strug­gles to be rel­e­vant with­out pos­ses­sion.

KURT­LEY BEALE IS­RAEL FO­LAU WILL GE­NIA MICHAEL HOOPER

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