Coet­zee look­ing for the win­ning blend for Boks

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - VATA NGOBENI

THE FRENCH may be world renowned for their wine mak­ing abil­i­ties but Spring­bok boss Al­lis­ter Coet­zee, con­sid­ers him­self the mas­ter in find­ing the right blend of rugby that will make his team the best in the world again.

For a long time while coach­ing the Storm­ers, Coet­zee was of­ten lam­basted for his de­fence minded ap­proach but in as­sis­tant coaches Franco Smith and Bren­dan Ven­ter, Coet­zee be­lieves that he will be able to mix the right in­gre­di­ents to make his team play win­ning rugby.

Coet­zee, though, con­tin­ues to harp on find­ing the right bal­ance but he is now em­pha­sis­ing the need to know the right time to run, kick and de­fend, traits that he be­lieves have been ev­i­dent in some of the coun­try’s Su­per Rugby fran­chises this year.

How­ever, key to Coet­zee’s style of play will be the ul­ti­mate re­sult and it will all be about play­ing win­ning rugby.

The Spring­boks will be des­per­ate to get back to win­ning ways after last year’s dis­as­trous sea­son where they man­aged to win only four out of their 12 Tests and re­gard­less of how spec­tac­u­lar their blend of rugby will be this year, win­ning will re­main the only barom­e­ter which Coet­zee and his team will be judged by.

“There’s a good bal­ance that ex­ists in the team en­vi­ron­ment and a lot of peo­ple want to know our style of play. We’ve got to win Test matches. We’ve got to get out of the blocks and win Test matches. I’ve got a Franco Smith and a Bren­dan Ven­ter so it’s al­most like a wine maker. The one is very at­tack driven and minded and you can see that in the way the Chee­tahs play and you have Bren­den Ven­ter who has got to get the de­fence right. But some­where some­one has got to fuse this and make sure that bal­ance is right. I’ve al­ways been some­one who pro­fesses bal­ance in rugby union. You can­not just run, if you run and play too much you will con­cede a lot of turnovers and will be be­hind your poles as we have seen in Su­per Rugby at cer­tain stages. You can­not just kick, if you kick too much then it is also not ideal. I’m happy that Su­per Rugby teams they have shown the in­tent, the at­tack­ing in­tent which is great. All we need to do now is to get that bal­ance right and get that bal­ance right know­ing what’s com­ing and what we are fac­ing,” said Coet­zee. With a healthy sprin­kling of Lions play­ers who have mas­tered the art of blend­ing the ex­pan­sive game with a steely de­fence and a host of other ex­cit­ing play­ers that have put in some scin­til­lat­ing per­for­mances in Su­per Rugby, it is now up to Coet­zee to make the right calls with his team se­lec­tion if he is to yield the per­fect blend of ex­cit­ing and win­ning rugby.

The ul­ti­mate proof of Coet­zee’s wine mak­ing and rugby abil­i­ties will be put to the test on Satur­day at Loftus Vers­feld against a French side who are revered not only for their wine mak­ing tal­ents but for play­ing the game with a swag­ger that has the world ador­ing their cham­pagne rugby.

It will take a lit­tle bit more than be­ing a mas­ter blender for Coet­zee and his team to beat the French, they will need to be­lieve in them­selves and avoid falling back to their old ways which left a bit­ter and bad taste in ev­ery­one’s mouth last year.

“Hope­fully we can get off to a good start and out of the blocks and it is what this team needs at this point in time, just a lit­tle bit of con­fi­dence,” Coet­zee said.

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