South Africa clever tac­tic for All Blacks

Fiji Sun - - Sport - Tokyo: Her­ald -Rug­byPass

The All Blacks’ de­ci­sion to fin­ish their 92-7 win over Tonga cre­ated plenty of in­ter­est, but the Spring­boks were also tri­alling some tricky tac­tics in or­der to pre­pare for the Rugby World Cup.

Specif­i­cally, the South African side had their open­ing match against the All Blacks in mind, dur­ing their 41-7 vic­tory over Ja­pan.

Spring­boks coach Rassie Eras­mus re­vealed post-game that his side pur­pose­fully went sig­nif­i­cant stretches with­out pos­ses­sion of the ball, to pre­pare them­selves for a clash against the All Blacks in which they ex­pect dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion to be dif­fi­cult. Cou­pled with that tac­tic was an at­tempt to pre­pare for po­ten­tial slip­pery con­di­tions - ei­ther sim­ply from rain, or the heat and hu­mid­ity, which can cause sim­i­lar is­sues when try­ing to play a pos­ses­sion-first style of rugby.

“Play­ing with­out the ball was in­ten­tional. Just for this first game to see how it goes. Be­cause we never know what it [the weather con­di­tions] will be like against New Zealand,” said Eras­mus.

“One of our first pri­or­i­ties was to adapt to the weather cir­cum­stances. The hu­mid­ity meant the ball was wet, af­ter 25 min­utes all the jer­seys were wet and the arms were wet. We are used to this sort of thing from games in Dur­ban in Fe­bru­ary so we treated it like it was a wet weather game,” he ex­panded.

“It paid off a bit but there were times when Ja­pan al­most got away and scored tries. So I would say that there were stages we were re­ally ef­fec­tive in do­ing it but also Ja­pan could have cap­i­talised on op­por­tu­ni­ties at other stages and then it could have been a dif­fer­ent game. The Spring­boks re­mark­ably only had 36 per cent pos­ses­sion, and made 164 tack­les to Ja­pan’s 69 as they at­tempted to ab­sorb pres­sure and then at­tack on the counter manag­ing to score six tries with that tac­tic.–NZ upon their de­par­ture to Ja­pan, with the Aus­tralians delaying their flight be­cause of the se­vere weather warning.

The English were met with clear blue skies when they landed, but their hopes of a smooth tran­sit were soon dashed by the ensuing trav­el­ing chaos.

The 31-man squad were first forced to stay on­board the flight for an hour due to a lack of buses to take them to the ter­mi­nal. That was fol­lowed by in­for­ma­tion that the two coaches that had been booked to take the play­ers and man­age­ment team into the city had not been able to reach the air­port be­cause of traf­fic con­ges­tion. Roads through­out Tokyo had been grid­locked in the wake of the typhoon, while all trains had been sus­pended.

A six-hour stint at the air­port saw squad mem­bers form an im­promptu game of cricket, with trans­port not ar­riv­ing un­til 8pm – six hours af­ter the side first landed. From there, a 40 mile (64km) jour­ney to their ac­com­mo­da­tion in Shiodome awaited the team.

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