The rush defence is highly effective if performed correctly, but the Boks need a fall-back plan according to All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter.
Carter commented on the Springboks tendency to rely on their forwards and the umbrella defence to win matches, but when it all goes wrong they need to be prepared with an alternative.
“They have a lot of pride in their forwards and they have extremely good set pieces,” Carter told the Supersport website. “But at times they have no Plan B. When they’re under pressure, they don’t adjust to what’s in front of them.”
Through all the criticism, South Africa’s coach Jake White has stood by this pattern, and stated earlier in the week that his team will use it against the All Blacks in Wellington. Carter admitted that if the Boks get it right, New Zealand could struggle.
“Things happen a lot quicker against the rush defence, but it can lead to opportunities in other areas. We definitely learnt a lot from the loss at Newlands last year,” he said.
Despite it’s effectiveness, the All Blacks flyhalf points out that you are able to counter the rush.
“You need to give yourselves a bit more space against a rush defence and the first-five [No.10] can do that by creating more depth for the rest of the backline.
“We’ve got plenty of skill out wide and the important thing is to realise if there’s space out there,” he said.
Continuity is also important to the success of this defence, so the fact that the Boks have once again made a change in the midfield will not help this strategy one bit. Jaco van der Westhuyzen, De Wet Barry and Marius Joubert stayed together and did well as a defensive combination in 2004, as did Andre Pretorius, Jean de Villiers and Jacque Fourie in 2005. But the current players seem to be struggling, and perhaps it’s time for White to admit that some variation is in order.