Key areas the Boks need to brush up on
The Springboks fell short in several key areas in their record 38-3 defeat to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
In turning around his team’s flagging fortunes coach Allister Coetzee and his management group will have to find quick solutions‚ but there are areas which will require time to remedy.
1) Tactical naivety
This is one where the brains trust have to share culpability.
On Saturday it seemed one team fastidiously kept to their script while the other committed theirs to the wind.
“I have to give credit to Ireland‚” Coetzee said generously.
“I thought tactically they played very well.
"We lacked patience in our plan‚ in our kicking game‚” he added about his team’s at times infuriating habit of handing the opposition easy possession.
2) Leadership (on field)
He may lead by example but captain Eben Etzebeth has failed to rouse his players when they’ve had their backs to the wall.
As one of his goals on this tour the coach has emphasised the need to win close games.
That requires cool leadership and composure.
The Boks aren’t winning close games‚ in fact‚ in some they drift rudderless as they are buffeted by inspired opposition.
Etzebeth is naturally taciturn which perhaps explains why the traditional Captain’s press conference on the eve of a game is no longer part of the team’s commitments to the media.
“It was a tough day‚” admitted Etzebeth after the defeat.
“Definitely not what any of us wanted. We have no excuses and have to rectify this‚ the players and management come Monday… to make new plans for next week.”
3) The scrum
The rigidity of the Bok scrum had not been tested by the time tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen departed the scene in the second minute against Ireland.
The highly promising Wilco Louw was pressed into action much earlier than anticipated but he soon discovered international rugby‚ particularly his area of expertise‚ is a school of hard knocks.
In mitigation‚ the fit again Cian Healy‚ Rory Best and Tadgh Furlong gives Ireland a hard edge upfront.
“For me the big thing was the scrum‚ the set piece‚ the pressure was there and the breakdown as well. We’ve got to improve scrum time‚” sighed Coetzee.
4) The breakdown
While the backrow trio of Siya Kolosi‚ Pieter-Steph du Toit and Louw at No8 served its purpose against the All Black‚ Coetzee may have to review the mix.
It didn’t help that hooker Malcolm Marx didn’t apply a strong hand in that area again. To be fair CJ Stander and Co were having a field day.
“The big difference was the detail at the breakdown‚” coach Coetzee said.
“They were really clever. Rory Best was good on the ground.
"The tackler made it difficult for our first arriving player to get there.
"By that I’m not saying it was done illegally but it was a challenge for us. We need to be better next time.”
5) Poor discipline
Scrum and breakdown penalties quickly mounted and the Boks were forced to play catch-up.
“The scoreboard pressure caught up with us‚” Coetzee said.
“Their second try only came in the 71 minute.
"We got to 14-3 and then conceded another penalty through ill discipline.