Juan Smith believes a return to the structured approach saved the Boks from defeat against Scotland.
Smith was the Man of the Match for the Boks in an otherwise shambolic effort from the visitors. Smith was crucial in setting up the Boks’ only try of the match from Jaque Fourie.
Trailing 10-0 at half-time, Smith said the team talk in the changing room was all about returning to the basics and players fulfilling their roles adequately.
“We decided we needed to go back to structured approach again,” said Smith. “We took the route where everyone knows what to do and what to expect, and that pulled us through.”
The Scots were expected to take a hiding from the Boks but they broke a 14-month try-scoring drought at Murrayfield. Smith lauded the hosts for their passionate display.
“In a 20 minute period in the first half we struggled and we also had to hold on during their fight back in the second half. They were in it for the full 80, and also made us defend for the entire game. They kept the ball in hand and all credit to them,” said Smith.
The Boks had to hold on for a narrow 14-10 win, but their performance was far from convincing. Smith highlighted next week’s fixture against England as key in their Lions preparations. The Twickenham contest is the Boks’ final international before the first Lions Test in Durban next year.
“That’s going to be a tough one against the English but hopefully we can win all three on tour. We haven’t played our best rugby, but this is still good preparation for the Lions.”
By Grant Ball