Springboks have work to do in wet weather
Having watched the test between the Springboks and Los Pumas again on Sunday (I missed most of the test on Saturday due to sitting in the rain at Loftus Versfeld), some things became very clear to me. Although some supporters are complaining about the performance of the Springboks there are some positives to take from the game.
“What are these positives?” you are asking. Well let me start with this:
First and foremost we scored a try. Secondly we won the game. Other than that it is hard to find much to take from the game. Maybe the fact that the Springboks can indeed swim. Other than that it is hard to find to many positives.
We struggled to do he basics right and when I say basics I’m not just talking about handling. 2 kicks straight into touch. A charge down from a free-kick, I mean what is with that. One can for certain not blame the rain or that. Basic decision making was lacking and with the experience that we have in the team this should never have been a problem.
As coach Meyer put it:
“We had a 20-year old (Handrè Pollard) running play at flyhalf and a 21-year old (Lood de Jager) calling the line-outs and they did very well. We showed a lot of character by keeping them out from our line. They had two great line-out options near our line and our guys kept them out. I am very happy with that.”
True as this may be, we selected these players because they are good enough. Pollard could have made more use of the backline. In the second half there was a scoring opportunity outwide and still he broke inside and the opportunity was lost.
We lost two or three balls on our own throw and not because it went skew but because the hookers didn’t find the jumpers. If this was De Jager’s fault is open for discussion.
In the end as Jean de Villiers said it was the worst conditions he has played in:
“Still, our guys came through nicely,” he said. “We could not play the brand we wanted to. We have five matches left to do it. Now we must regroup and do it in Salta. Our execution was poor tonight. We did not expect these conditions, so adapted as best we could. We were looking for five points, but the fact that we got four is still very pleasing.”
In the end a win is a win, but we will need to work on our play in wet weather. It is not going to be much better in the England come the world cup next year. One or two guys stood out in the Springbok jersey.
Francois Louw had a good game and Willie le Roux at the back wasn’t to bad. Ruan Pienaar had moment of brilliance and it resulted in a try for the Springboks. Other than that the team will look back and have a lot to reflect on before the test in Salta this Saturday. From here on we can only improve.