‘We can catch the All Blacks’
The increased tempo at which the Springboks are playing is the single biggest difference between the side in 2017 and the bumbling 2016 outfit, according to former national coach Ian McIntosh.
The Springboks battled to get out of the blocks in the first year of Allister Coetzee’s coaching tenure, winning just four of their 12 matches and losing Tests against countries like Ireland, Argentina, Italy and Wales.
McIntosh (above) also only won four of his 12 Tests during his 14 months in charge of the Boks in 1993/94, but he also had two draws – including one against the All Blacks in Auckland – and they beat Australia in Sydney as he dragged SA rugby kicking and screaming into the modern age.
Coetzee has implemented a similarly dramatic change in approach this year, and the Springboks have responded with two refreshing, convincing wins over France.
“It’s always a worry getting the right balance in your play, but the intensity the Springboks have played with is what has impressed me most. I’ve seen snippets of what they’re doing at practice and the only difference between us and New Zealand is the tempo at which we play.
“These are early days, but if they carry on increasing their intensity like they have been doing and with the selection of all these juniors who are rising up the ladder, then we can catch the All Blacks. If we keep that intensity, we will be a big threat.
“We’ve got the talent, let me tell you, just as much as New Zealand do,” McIntosh told Saturday Citizen at a Players’ Fund and SA Rugby Legends Association training day for the Vuka development programme.