Keep The Rugby Ball Win The Game
After suffer yet another another loss away from home last weekend the Springboks must learn to keep the rugby ball in hand rather than kicking possession away. Their negative style of play sees them kicking the ball away too often; the last match saw the wallabies kicking the ball in touch 11 times compared to South Africa’s 16.
This tactical focus shows to vastly different approaches to the game with Australia playing fast rugby with ball in hand, compared to South Africa playing a more powerful, slow, kicking game which is more reminiscent of England’s style of play, than southern hemisphere rugby.
This kick and pressure style of rugby has caused the springboks numerous issues at the breakdown where they have the need both to challenge hard to turn the ball over, and also to ruck illegally to slow down the oppositions ball. Often in the last match Springbok players could be seen deliberately lying over the ball illegally or interfering with the ball being released at the back of the scrum.
This tactical bending of the rules which there kicking game enforces was responsible for a much higher penalty count against them, and the yellow card given to BJ Botha. Both of which were key to the final result the recent match.
With a large and less mobile pack South Africa, are a team that suit the kick/pressure/penalty game plan used so well by England in there spell of dominance in the middle of the last decade. The smaller fitter packs of the wallabies and the All Blacks, suit the a more free flowing ball in hand version of the game which suits the new interpretation of the laws ‘at the breakdown’.
Choices need to be to made by the Springboks; do they refuse to develop their historical game plan with its large slow packs which can dominate the set piece and the tight play, or do they adopt a new game plan to suit the faster more mobile type of rugby which the new laws encourage in 2010.