Smit calls for measured approach

Dick Muir’s statement concerning an expansive style has been misunderstood by the media according to Springbok captain John Smit.

The Boks came to the United Kingdom with the aim of winning three Tests, and it was accepted that a direct playing style would be prudent in northern hemisphere conditions. The Boks employed this style in Cardiff and were expected to follow suit in Edinburgh, but Muir told a press conference on Thursday he hoped flyhalf Ruan Pienaar would play less conservatively and the Boks as a collective would run at the Scots.

Smit spoke with with a rye smile when commenting on this statement, and confirmed the Boks will keep to the direct approach at Murrayfield.

“I think if we played up in Iceland Dick would still talk about moving the ball around,” he told keo.co.za. “But what he’s said has been misconstrued. We want to move the ball around but you have to earn the right to play it wide first.

“It’s about building first and creating the opportunity. Then you have to be good enough to make that advantage count.”

The Boks aren’t too optimistic about the weather on Saturday, as the Edinburgh rain and wind is bound to affect proceedings. The fact that their best scrumhalf Fourie du Preez is out with an injury is a big blow considering how valuable he’d be in wet or windy conditions.

“It’s not ideal,” said Smit. “We wanted to draw strength from keeping the same 22 together for two weeks running, as it would help with our consistency. The only momentum we got out of last week was the result and there are aspects we are looking to improve.

“It’s not a train smash to lose Fourie, but it will affect you when you lose the best scrumhalf in the world. We’re lucky we have such an experienced player in Ricky [Januarie] to fill the gap, and while Ruan Pienaar may be under more pressure from a tactical kicking point of view, Ricky does bring other attributes to the team.”

This is the last opportunity for the Boks as they head into the all-important Twickenham Test on 22 November. Smit said they will not underestimate the Scots, but this fixture is also about building confidence before they meet England.

“Our focus is on our own performance no matter who we play,” he said.