Jaque Fourie and Gary Gold say concern about the Springboks’ attacking struggles is unwarranted.
The Springboks strung together two attacking moves that culminated in tries, but largely struggled to make any impact on a weakened Wales side. Their pragmatic style undoubtedly undermines their cause. It is too reliant on precise execution and there is no discernible alternative.
Their faith in the method is rooted in its successful implementation and execution in 2009. However, they have failed to evolve their game since then and have exhibited too little of the purpose, precision and penetration they did in setting up Frans Steyn and Francois Hougaard’s tries in Wellington tonight.
However, Fourie believes they have the capacity to advance this facet of their play during the tournament. ‘We weren’t good enough on attack tonight, especially in our ball retention and kicking game. But those are things that can be fixed relatively quickly,’ he told keo.co.za.
‘You have to consider that conditions were horrible [there was a strong wind and intermittent rain]. But we don’t want to be known as a team that just defends. We want to play. The key to that is getting [a quick recycle]. That will solve a lot of our problems.’
Assistant coach Gold agreed. ‘The directive was to keep it nice and tight because they are a team that is adept at rushing up and isolating runners in the wide channels if you play too expansively, and also one that likes to flood the breakdown, which is what they were allowed to do this evening. That compromised our attack,’ he said.
‘Wales made it clear that they were coming to beat and batter us and to an extent they were allowed to do that. We weren’t where we need to be from an attacking point of view, but you can’t ignore that Wales is a very good side that played very well, particularly on defence.’
Meanwhile, Fourie and Gold believe the outstanding feature of the Test was the apparent grasp of a defensive system introduced prior to the Tri-Nations by defensive coach Jacques Nienaber. It seeks to replicate the system that the Stormers employ to good effect, and Fourie, who is central to its functioning with the Cape franchise, was pleased with the progress.
‘The system’s success depends on trust, communication and work rate. The guys are working harder to get off the ground after they’ve made a tackle so that the defensive line is always well stocked. It’s coming right and we know how important defence is to winning World Cups,’ he said.
Gold added: ‘Heinrich Brussow is so important to our ability to set our defensive line, which is imperative to a defensive system functioning efficiently. We didn’t want to over-commit [players] to the breakdown, and Heinrich and to a lesser extent Schalk [Burger] and Bismarck [du Plessis] slowing the recycle so often allowed us to do that.’
By Ryan Vrede in Wellington
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