Bok chances rest on accuracy and patience
Scrum time is the key to SA’s chances of gaining the upper hand against the All Blacks, says assistant coach Matt Proudfoot
Wellington — The Springboks must be accurate and patient at scrum time if they are to have any chance of beating the All Blacks in their own backyard for the first time since 2009, says Bok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot.
The Boks had challenges in most areas during the deflating defeat to Australia last week and the All Blacks will present a more dangerous threat in what is expected to be a hostile environment at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.
"Our accuracy must improve and we are constantly looking at putting our backs in position to attack," Proudfoot said. ‘‘Our pack has been carrying well, but theirs has been devastating and it should be an interesting battle.
"Scrummaging against the All Blacks is always a concern, but I don’t look at their performance against Argentina last week and see a balance sheet.
‘‘We have more than 100 caps on each side facing each other and it is going to be exciting to watch.
‘‘We have to have the mentality of always looking to improve every week and as a pack, scrummaging and mauling are synonymous with what the pack represents.
‘‘We are relishing the opportunity to show what we are about at scrum time and we have improved as a group since the match against Argentina.
"We did particularly well against Australia, but this is a different challenge that we must tackle head-on."
A key player for the Springboks in this area is Tendai Mtawarira, who is expected to return to the starting line-up after he played from the bench in the defeat to the Wallabies.
"Our bindings must be spot on because that’s where safety starts and, like I said, emphasis must be on accuracy and patience. The All Blacks are very patient and they sit there for a long time."
The other area where the Boks must be on top of their game is their carries, especially against a team that is statistically the best in the competition.
"We have looked at them and they are the highest-carrying team in the competition and you can’t come here and try to defend. We are the second most carriers with Siya Kolisi and Steven Kitshoff and we are not going to change what we have been doing for about six weeks.
‘‘We play a particular style and they play a particular style and we are going to focus on that," Proudfoot said, adding that the All Blacks would miss the injured Brodie Retallick.
‘‘They will miss Brodie because he is a phenomenal player but they have capable replacements.
‘‘I expect that Scott Barrett will play, his brother Beauden is a phenomenal athlete and we are well aware of his abilities."
De Allende: it is always special to face the haka
Springboks centre Damian de Allende is not fazed by the prospect of facing a near full-strength New Zealand side that has been hugely boosted by the availability of several big guns ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship showdown at the Westpac Stadium, writes Mahlatse Mphahlele
Sam Cane, Ryan Cotty, Sonny Bill Williams and Rieko Ioane will be available after missing last weekend’s 46-24 victory over Argentina in Nelson, and coach Steve Hansen is expected to include them in the starting line-up against the Boks.
But a resolute De Allende was not too bothered by the return of these New Zealand stars and even said he was looking forward to facing the haka.
"You always want to measure yourself against big players and this is an opportunity for us as a team to see what we can do," he said.
"It’s always special and a motivation to face the haka. Every rugby player who wants to play for SA wants to face the haka," De Allende said.
‘‘When the haka is done, we will have to play a game of rugby and I hope that we execute our plans well, because if we can stick to the plan for 80 minutes, we will have a chance of winning the match."
You always want to measure yourself against big players and this is an opportunity for us as a team to see what we can do.
The Boks have been under huge pressure after successive losses to Argentina in Mendoza and Australia in Brisbane.
Despite the challenges and the pressure on beleaguered coach Rassie Erasmus, De Allende said the Bok mentor had helped him to grow as a player.
"The main thing from him has been about simplifying everything," he said.
"Sometimes as SA we try to complicate things.
"The way we are coached in SA, we look at the game from a different angle, but he has a different way of coaching and he has brought a new dimension to the game."
De Allende was backed up by flanker Francois Louw, who said they were expecting a physical battle against the All Blacks.
"We will do our homework and analyse them," Louw said.
"They have had a lot of rugby over the past few months.
"We will look at them at areas where they can influence the game. Our game will not only be formulated at their weak points but more at where our strengths are. There will be areas where we believe we can have a bigger influence, but the biggest thing for us will be our strengths."
Erasmus is also likely to make a few changes, with Handrè Pollard replacing Elton Jantjies and Malcolm Marx starting in the place of Bongi Mbonambi.
Erasmus must also find a replacement for the injured Makazole Mapimpi.
Indications are that he may be tempted to put Jesse Kriel at right wing with Lukhanyo Am slotting in at centre.
"We have Cheslin Kolbe with us, who played a full second half last Saturday against the Wallabies on the wing," said Erasmus.
"But we have some other options as well, such as Jesse Kriel and even Lukhanyo Am, who has played some rugby out on the wing."