How to mas­ter the north­ern hemi­sphere

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

1. Match fire with fire

While the Boks are a phys­i­cal out­fit, north­ern hemi­sphere teams are just as phys­i­cal – and they en­joy get­ting stuck in, re­ally stuck in.

The Boks will have to win the col­li­sions and not stand back. They’re go­ing to have to com­mit num­bers to the break­downs and not de­vi­ate from their game-plan that was so suc­cess­ful in the TriNa­tions or try any­thing fancy.

Win the bat­tle up front or the game is over.

2. Mas­ter the kicks

Of­ten the con­di­tions are not con­ducive to run­ning the ball and, with the laws the way they are, the boot re­mains a key area of the game.

Zane Kirch­ner, who’s likely to be the man at full­back, can ex­pect to be pep­pered with high ball.

So, too, the wings Bryan Ha­bana and JP Pi­etersen.

The Boks have to field the high kicks well and then think fast to turn de­fence into at­tack, ei­ther by run­ning the ball up or re­turn­ing the kick, with in­ter­est.

3. Dom­i­nate the set pieces

North­ern hemi­sphere teams place a lot of em­pha­sis on their scrum­ming power and li­ne­out work and while the Boks have the best in the busi­ness when it comes to li­ne­out play, they’re go­ing to have to up their game at scrum time.

John Smit, Bis­marck du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira fluc­tu­ated be­tween the good and the bad this sea­son so if the Boks are to be suc­cess­ful on tour they’re go­ing to have to get the bet­ter of their op­po­nents in the scrums.

4. Kick well

For­tu­nately for the Boks, they have two of the best kick­ers in world rugby – Fourie du Preez is in a class of his own at scrumhalf, while Morne Steyn has made the No 10 jer­sey his own.

While they’ll be re­liant on the pack do­ing the work up front, Du Preez and Steyn will have to get the Boks into the right ar­eas of the field for the side to be a threat.

Kirch­ner will also need to show he’s the right man to wear the 15 on his back.

5. Bring or­der to bro­ken play

The Boks are a team that thrives on struc­ture.

They know what works for them and they know best how to wear down the op­po­si­tion.

In new con­di­tions and against op­po­nents they may not know all that well there’s the pos­si­bil­ity of them los­ing some of their struc­ture.

The French es­pe­cially may look to play an un­con­ven­tional game and open it up as much as pos­si­ble. Ire­land and Italy, too, could try to rat­tle the Boks with some­thing out of the or­di­nary.

They must guard against this.

GALLO IM­AGES

DOMI­NA­TORS: For the Boks to get the up­per hand against France, Italy and Ire­land, the front row of John Smit, Bis­marck du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira will have to be on top of their game over the next three weeks.

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