Grocott's Mail

Springboks, fine tuned


The Boks will face Wales in their quarter-final RWC 2015 clash this Saturday. While they have improved their performanc­es dramatical­ly and are once again title contenders, there are still areas of their game that can be fine-tuned.

• Pollard and the back three’s aimless kicks.

While chasing up and unders and putting in tactical kicks to gain territory are valuable tactics, aimless kicking when under pressure or when running out of ideas will cost the Boks dearly, especially against teams with potent counter-attackers such as the All Blacks and Australia.

Du Preez’s tactical kicking has been superb, but Pollard and Le Roux must improve this area of their game.

• What to do with Matfield and Du Plessis.

Prior to their injuries, both players varied in their form levels. Matfield was back to his best, while Jannie du Plessis was yet again struggling in the scrums, not making tackles.

Lood de Jager stepped in for Matfield and has been immense. He has secured his line-outs and stolen plenty of opposition ball, he is a potent ball-carrier and is rock-solid in defence. He has been arguably South Africa’s best-performing forward in the last two tests against the USA and Scotland. Frans Malherbe came in for Jannie at prop and did well in the scrums as he always does.

Heyneke Meyer may have


a headache once again in this situation over whether he should pick players based on their form, or experience. • Organisati­on on attack. More often than not, it seems that there is a lack of organisati­on in the Bok attack.

They never run set moves, they often look ‘panicky’ when facing teams with rush defence, and go-to ball carriers such as Bismarck du Plessis and Schalk Burger are often taking the ball while standing still and alone and block the ball going wide.

Pollard also appears to be selfish as he takes the ball in far too often for a fly-half. The Boks' back line coach should be in the firing line here as it appears to be that a lack of coaching is the cause of this problem.

The Boks need to include set moves to be less predictabl­e than they have been for some time now, ensure forward carriers run with at least one man in support to avoid going backwards or conceding turnovers, and send the ball wide more often to stretch opposition defences. All of this will be critical when they face quality opposition in this competitio­n.

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