Defence is the decider

Brenden Nel

The celebrations across the globe at the demise of the All Blacks should be short-lived.

Anyone who knows anything about rugby knows that a one-off defeat, no matter how epic, is only one-off event. And while the All Blacks may have given everyone hope ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup, they will still be overwhelming favourites because their system is strong, and that’s what determines World Cup winners.

It is the same with the modern game. We’re all for preaching attack and every single pundit worth their salt wants to proclaim the gospel of running rugby.

And while that is good for the spectacle of the game, and tries are always beautiful to watch when they are well-executed, the solemn truth that few want to hear is that defence will win the next World Cup.

What the November window has shown us is that teams that execute their defence well, that are willing to put their bodies on the line and make more tackles when necessary, will win.

Test rugby is an absolute. It is about pressure. It is about soaking it up and counter-punching when you can. It is about playing smartly and for territory, and yes, when the moment presents, it is about unleashing your attack to punish mistakes.

It is no coincidence that many tries in modern Test rugby come from the counter-attack, from broken play where a smart player spots a mismatch in the defensive line. But between those moments – the moments when your defensive pressure puts the opposition into a phase where they make a mistake – the lines hold firm.

We watched in wonder as the Springboks punched and defended, and then counter-punched when they could to beat the All Blacks in Wellington. We watched as the Springbok defence and the bench couldn’t hold out at Loftus under the pressure. In Wellington, the Boks made 235 tackles to the 61 of the All Blacks. At Loftus the All Blacks made 147 to the 93 of the Springboks.

We watched the Boks not take their chances against England at Twickenham, then bounce back with the door left open by France to steal that game. And we watched on Saturday when the Scots counter-punched well but the Bok defence was resolute, physical and ensured a workmanlike victory at Murrayfield.

Twickenham saw England make 52 more tackles as they outlasted the Boks, Paris saw the Boks have to make 47 more tackles than the French. Murrayfield was the anomaly where the Boks made 26 less tackles, but through dominant defence won the game.

In Dublin the Irish did make 10 more tackles than the All Blacks – 198 to 188 – but were smarter, more dominant in the tackle and were able to disrupt the All Blacks attack.

And that is the key – a smart defence, one that amplifies the pressure on the opposition. One that forces the opposition into mistakes is the counter to the modern attacking game. Defences are well-organised worldwide now and broken play is the key to countering this.

While we continue to preach a modern, attacking game where individuals can unlock defences, the truth is a good system of defence will hold strong and place even the best attacking side under pressure.

And with the 2019 Rugby World Cup round the corner, the Home Unions have invested heavily in defensive structures, and  the hot-and-humid conditions in Japan will underline this importance.

The Boks will have possibly their toughest Test against Warren Gatland’s side in Cardiff on Saturday, but not because the Welsh are an overly impressive side. They’ve built their success around a defensive system that is stingy and effective, one that is hardly exciting to watch but gets the results.

And the key for the Boks is to unlock this, meet them head on with defensive pressure and force the mistakes. And then take advantage on the counter.

Wales will be a litmus test for the Springboks ahead of Japan 2019. It will provide them with a blueprint of what to expect at the Rugby World Cup. But every November international has only served to remind us: World Rugby may preach the gospel of attacking play, but come the World Cup final, we will all be talking again how defence wins tournaments.

- Brenden Nel

Let's chat

  • Brendon Shields

    Enjoyed that read Brenden? Nothing about the ref for a change? :-)

    I reckon real strategic kicking will be the only way to unlock resolute defenses come 2019.

    In WC the up and under will be less used because the chaser is at a disadvantage in the air and cards will be shown. With flat defenses in most teams, the chip will once more gain currency even if the opposition regains the ball.

    I must say with in-behind passes now used to get width the game is rather pretty to watch despite the strong emphasis on D. A game today can end 9-6 and be a true classic with lots of creative play etc. 2019 will be epic!

    • dbaggins

      Agree with the last paragraph about the current entertainment value. As well as the chip and grubber for space potentially gaining even more popularity in the future.

      Still undecided about the up and under. As you say it does disadvantage the chaser, but it also gives the singular best chance for a turnover or penalty, simply because you can outnumber the opposition at the breakdown in a tiny window to enforce an effective counter ruck. But getting all the parts correct to achieve that under the current laws is quite tricky.
      Since most teams defensive structures are very well organised and this alone is a very low percentile tactic……… sure some creative coach is going to come forward to find a way to exploit it in the future.

  • gerhard van tonder gerhard van tonder

    Through Defenses you can have gainline dominance.You dominate the gainline you can counter attack.

    People talk about ‘running rugby’ and I am not sure what it means. How do you get to running rugby?

    • nezo

      the problem with being too defense minded is that:

      – when an opportunity for attack presents itself you fail to take 50% of them because you are not well skilled in the art of Attacking.
      – you end up loosing games or having close games with teams that you should have put away by a huge margin.

      in a World cup yes defense always wins World cups. even New Zealand had to do with defense in the Semi Finals and Finals of the last World cup. what Brandon doesn’t get though is that we never said defense is bad. we are just asking for complete Rugby. its frustrating seeing a lot of opportunities go to nothing because the guys cannot offload, give proper support and the ball is not going to wings when WE KNOW just how DANGEROUS they are.

      we never said run from anywhere. that is madness. but lets be creative and learn to move the ball to its maximum when the opportunity presents itself. then we will give teams that deserve a hiding a proper hiding and instill fear on all comers. fear is the first tool for success in competition.

      • Herman Schroder?

        Spot on my good fellow. Cheers.

    • Johan

      Easy:
      Pass more that once in 80 minutes especially if you are a center, named Damian
      – He passed only once against England and only once against Scotland..
      – 2 passes in 160 minutes and 8 passes in 240 minutes total for this tour…

      Rant over:
      Don’t kick the ball away when you win a turn over!
      Pass more than once when you have 2 wings who are great at attacking (they aren’t in the team for their deference?)
      Vary your passes. Don’t just use one off runners
      Offloading in the tackle

  • John Comyn

    I hope you are reading this Barry! I would say the same for Herman but that would be a futile exercise.

    • Herman Schroder?

      John read Nezo’s post just above here for some perspective. Barry also pointed you in the right direction. It’s not a question of attacking willy nilly, never has been but attacking smartly with skill vision and execution which this Bok side still nor produced after thirteen tests.

      Nel, a domkragger of note, mentions the 235 tackles the Boks made in Wellington to support his claims but despite that it took a brain explosion by the worlds best rugby player ( two years running ) in the final four minutes of the game to enable the Boks to pox it. Who knows if they had attacked with ball in hand ( although they find it almost impossible to do ) they may have even klapped the AB’s properly ?

      Defence is a basic requirement in rugby and must be done well with commitment and organization but unless you can intelligently use the opportunities created by that you will continue to misfire like the Boks have been doing so far. Win one, lose one, pox one. Cheers.

    • Barry

      John, sorry, but you just don’t get it! It is not one or the other, but a fine balance that make teams successful. The point I make is that at the moment there is too much bash and not enough finesse!

      • SweetAz

        Agreed, but the bash is mostly from 2 players (who shall remain unnamed as they are not Lions players) Change out our centers and its a completely different dynamic. I would still love to see Johan Goosen and Frans Steyn involved. Goosen because I believe he never realized his potential and Frans because who doesn’t want someone who kicks 60m penalties in a RWC.

        • Herman Schroder?

          We are looking for intelligent centres not plodders and bashers, they are a dime a dozen in sunny SA. Goosen at centre ?? Mind you I would prefer him to Pollard if we are going to play ‘real’ rugby.

          By the way most teams have a 50 to 60m kicker these days so he’s hardly an advantage anymore.
          Cheers.

        • Sharky

          I am right there ith you regarding Frans. He is still an amazing talent. Murray Mexted apparently sung his praised when Steyn attended his academy some 15 years back, but circumstances haven’t work out for him and SA rugby. He’s also the youngest player to reach 50 caps for the Boks, making him the 150 cap Bok that never was!

          • Herman Schroder?

            Frans is too flawed with commitment issues and yet another stampkar exponent. Too many of those around cocking things up already, why add another ? Cheers.

  • John Comyn

    Excellent read from a journalist that knows his stuff. What does surprise me is the drop kick has not been used a lot in the games we have seen thus far. Can one ever forget the QF when Jannie De Beer nailed 4 drop kicks (or was it 5) in the WC against England at Twickenham..

    • Herman Schroder?

      You mean he knows the dom krag stuff, lol. Ask him to write an article on intricate high intensity expansive rugby as an attacking game plan and see what he does. Defence is merely a basic facet of the game which must be done correctly of course. Making it the be all and end all is plain ludicrous. Cheers.

    • SweetAz

      Funnily enough, the AB’s dropped one against England and would you know,—–the kings of expansive rugby scraped a win scoring fewer tries than England. So to extrapolate that and demonstrate a logical fallacy we say,—“The AB’s dropped a goal and scored fewer tries than England and are the number one ranked team in the world, ERGO the way to win and be the best is by dropping goals”

      See where I’m going with this?- It’s exactly the same argument as saying they score more tries so the opposite applies, BOTH are logical fallacies not taking cognizance of a plethora of other factors.

      • Herman Schroder?

        But what we do know is that the team scoring more tries will win 92.7776 % of the time, so scoring tries must be the way to go. That’s no fallacy. Cheers.

        • nezo

          especially if you wanna be successful inbetween world cups. and i think the Rugby championship does matter. they should think about it. in the South we play a more running and open game which means more tries will give you wins 90% of the time.

          since 2003 we have only been SH champions 2 times. that is 14 years of pain. and we still debating that we don’t need to Revolutionize our way of playing. i think that is madness.

          oh someone once defined Madness
          “doing the same thing and expecting the same results”

          • SweetAz

            I dont really want to do this but here goes,—-instead of blaming all the woe’s of Bok Rugby on “domkrag” has it ever occurred to anyone that over this exact same period EVERY SINGLE INSTITUTION IN SA has suffered a similar decline,—–Could it be that Transnet, Eksdom, SABC, SAA etc etc etc are all playing domkrag?

            Just sayinnnnnnnngggggggg.

          • nezo

            “doing the same thing and expecting different results”

  • Barry

    Brenden, there is no question that a team will not be successful without a strong defensive game, no one could really argue that point, Simply, if you’re leaking points, you have no chance of success!

    However, defence alone will not win games or World Cups either! All the above protagonists nonchalantly add the minor caveat that you “then take advantage of the turn overs created and score tries”! Well that, by the bye encapsulates the other 60% of the game!

    The reality is that our utopia should rather be referred to as “Complete Rugby”. A style that incorporates all the vital disciplines and not just hone in on single aspects.

    Different conditions and different teams will demand those various components in varying strengths and this is an aspect that Erasmus is good at – understanding his opposition and adjusting the game and points of emphasis to engage these variances.

    Finding the right balance is the secret to success!

    • Herman Schroder?

      Spot on Barry. Cheers.

    • SweetAz

      Exactly,–nothing to do with expansive rugby at all. Complete Rugby embraces everything, it takes cognizance of weather and field conditions, strengths and weaknesses of yourself and the opposition,–and when all is said and done the team with the most points wins. If you are playing weak and stupid opposition you will score lots of tries doing so, BUT that does not mean a team that scores lots of tries will always be the winner. That’s simply a logical fallacy known as False Dilemma/False Dichotomy.
      I think Rassie is on a steep learning curve, but everything he has said and his genuineness when admitting mistakes gives me hope that he has the potential to be a great coach. Unlike AC who had a million excuses, Rassie calls it as he sees it.

      • Herman Schroder?

        Okay so we know you bought a new dictionary so stop boasting about it. And then you spoil it with misinformation. Teams scoring more tries and thereby winning the game is by far the dominant factor in modern rugby. I think you still live in the past when 3-0 was considered an overwhelming win.

        As I posted earlier to you, imo upwards of 90% of matches are won by teams scoring more tries. Please prove me wrong. A team winning with kicks is most certainly not the norm. So logically you should gear your game to scoring tries, unless you’re the Boks of course.

        By the way Rassie has proved nothing so far. In fact maybe losing to Wales will put him on seven losses out of 14 tests. May I remind you useless AC only lost FOUR matches last year. Where’s the progress then ? And Rassie had an army of mercenaries to help him as well, go figure..

        Sorry to rain on your parade old chap but remember AC may have made excuses aplenty but Rassie doesn’t have to, I believe he has a job till 2023, so he can afford to play the nice guy. Although with his current 33% black representation he may soon be feeling the heat. Watch this space. Cheers.

  • SweetAz

    JAAAAAAAAAAAA SWAARIE,—(capital letters for the dom one). It’s like I keep trying to tell people, it’s easy to play “expansive” rugby with “offloads”, “chicken wing passes”, “between the leg passes”, “kick passes”—–WHEN THE OPPOSITION ALLOWS YOU TO.
    Super Rugby, Pro 14 etc etc has a lot more space and time because not all the players are quality,-when you get to TEST rugby it’s a different kettle of fish.

    Excuse the capital letters, they are just there for the hard of hearing.

    • Herman Schroder?

      Poor SweetAz, I know you can’t wait for my informed contributions but I have already made numerous responses to you on this very subject on this site so I’ll wait until you’ve read them before commenting again, if necessary. Quite a few other posters seem to come to the same conclusion as I have so be sure to read all the posts before you respond, you might even learn something.

      But an additional point here if I may. You say it’s easy to play ‘expansive rugby’ which proves that you have absolutely no conception of how difficult it is to play, It’s obviously not taught at the Dom Krag Academy. lol.

      Why do you think Rassie persists with dom krag rugby and Nel and the other domkraggers like yourself continue to beat that long outdated drum ? It’s too difficult to coach and teach especially to the plodders brought up on a diet of slow thinking, no frills c..p. Some of those players still play week in and week out for the Boks with NO improvement and our poor results speak for themselves, excluding ‘one off miracles’ of course.

      In closing one more pearl of wisdom to assist you with your patent lack of understanding of this issue. It’s precisely those instinctive skills that get applied when an opportunity presents itself in a TEST match that inevitably wins it for the bold. There is no better example than the Stockdale try for Ireland. I rest my case. Cheers.

      • Chris Mouton

        Not that I want to become part of the glorious mud-flinging contest here, but the Stockdale try was planned by Schmidt. It had very little to do with instinctive skills. Schmidt has these power plays and that was specifically designed. Schmidt recognized Ben Smith’s movements and planned especially for that. The same was with the Chris Ashton try against the All Blacks, which was planned by Jones. Check out the 1014 channel on Youtube where they specifically analysed these games and pointed it out. They really have some great content with a lot of insight.

        The most impressive player of this weekend for me was Hogg. I would consider him to be an instinctive player. Much like Folau a few years ago. Not that Stockdale doesn’t get any credit. He played his part well in that almighty game. Question is, what would the result have been had Kieran Read’s hands not turned into sausages? He made very uncharacteristic handling errors that had a massive impact on the All Black attack.

      • SweetAz

        Jirrre but you are a dom box,—-I even wrote it in capital letters and you still missed it and ran off at your usual verbal diarrhoea tangent,-here it is again, -please read until the end.

        it’s easy to play “expansive” rugby with “offloads”, “chicken wing passes”, “between the leg passes”, “kick passes”—–WHEN THE OPPOSITION ALLOWS YOU TO.

        WHEN THE OPPOSITION ALLOWS YOU TO.
        WHEN THE OPPOSITION ALLOWS YOU TO.
        WHEN THE OPPOSITION ALLOWS YOU TO.

        Get it?

    • John Comyn

      The “Dom” one is busy compiling his response as I type this. I wonder what he makes of his shinning examples (All Blacks) of running rugby scoring 1 try, yes only one, their entire NH tour. What happened to “nous” they use to have in abundance! ( a point to ponder)

      • Herman Schroder?

        I have duly responded to various posts by yourself and especially SweetAz and trust that you will take cognizance of them and respond if necessary. But in short the exception does NOT make the rule. Only people desperate to prove a point will latch on to them. Cheers.

        • nezo

          “exception does NOT make the rule. Only people desperate to prove a point will latch on to them”

          that is wisdom

          i think 9 years of total domination of all comers prove you right Herman. My God! it is even a record that they were kept tryless.

      • SweetAz

        The “nous” is so far up the “r-se”, the brain can’t work, what takes a normal person 3 or 4 sentences will soon land with a thud and take up the entire webpage regurgitating the same drivel he’s been spewing forever. I don’t know why he doesn’t just copy and paste it, it’s essentially the same refrain ad infinitum.

        • Herman Schroder?

          Always great to hear from you old chap. Getting a bit crude are we ?? First sign of someone not getting his own way. Also known as childishness. As Frankie once sang ” I did it my way ”, so suck it up. Cheers.

        • Johan

          NZ have been dominating international rugby with “expansive” rugby with “offloads”, “chicken wing passes”, “between the leg passes”, “kick passes” for the last number of years.

          “New Zealand eight years at the top of the World Rankings”

          Even after a long season, playing against the number 2 team in the world, away, they still only managed to lose by 7…

          As to the amazing Domkrag rugby:
          Ireland’s flyhalf passed the ball 35 times and their centers 15 times and their wings had 17 carries between them
          New Zealand’s flyhalf passed 27 times and their centers 12 times and their wings had 18 carries between them.
          This is the best two teams in the world.

          As for number five: (with 54% win rate this year)
          Pollard passed the ball 7 times, our centers passed 5 times and our wings had 6 carries between them.

          NZ have lost 2 games and won 12 (83%) this year, I don’t think you are justified, just yet, in your thinking that their “expansive” tactics are useless

          • Herman Schroder?

            Many thanks for that Johan, finally a sane voice in a world full of deluded rugby souls. See my latest post to Mr SweetAz. Cheers.

          • SweetAz

            You still just dont get it, I’m not saying dont play expansive rugby,-it has its place, but like my ouma used to say,–there is a time and a place for everything and wise people know when those times are. The AB’s have won some games the last 8 years they should never have won simply because their main opposition the Boks and Arsetralians have been exceptionally weak. In fact, they should never even have won the RWC in 2015, -that was just diabolical refereeing by Joubert.
            It’s a false dichotomy to assume their success is based on one thing like they play “expansive rugby”. Ireland, as a rule, doesn’t play expansive rugby, they strangle you by never allowing you to have the ball and by swarming you on defence, they can only do that because they have built depth in positions,—-something Rassie is trying to do. Its a system reliant on extreme fitness and physicality more so than skill, and it invariably fails over the duration of a RWC where you must maintain it for 6 games over 6 weeks against good opposition.
            Like someone else said, –the AB’s only scored one try on this tour.
            All that said, -you are correct we do have a problem in our midfield, I don’t believe its Pollard, he has improved continuously as he has had more game time,—our problem is we have DOM centers. Jesse Kriel, in particular, is clueless about when to pass and Die Ellendig is just brain dead. If you sort our midfield out I think you will see a different Bok team

            Ruan Nel would be a good start.

          • Whinger

            Yes, and with all the passing, only one try was scored. Defense dominated the match and, in the end decided the result. The All Blacks simply missed more tackles than the Irish. They also dropped more passes.

          • nezo

            Wow Mr Johan. these guys should listen to you Man. Perfect answer

  • Craig

    Great article and insightful. Is does raise the question as to whether we have the midfield players to take advantage of the opposition mishaps when the pressure is applied.

  • Barry

    With the squad named unchanged it is clear that the mid field bash patrol are satisfying their masters and that we can expect more of the same! frankly a bit dissapointing!

    it must be really deflating for the likes of Esterhuizen, Notshe and Schreuder. To have spent the month on nothing more than tackle bag duty, remembering that Esterhuizen will have conceded substantial income from his Japanese club!

    • Whinger

      Barry, why obfuscate with Notshe and Schroeder. It really is all about Esterhuizen. No need to hide it. You actually have a point, although it would just be trading one big basher for another. I want Serfontein in at all costs. By the way who is this weekend’s Glen?

      • Dean

        Esterhuizen is as one dimensional as De Allende. You gain nothing by swopping one for the other. Serfontein and Frans Steyn offer far more. Serfontein was probably the most consistent Bok alongside Kolisi and Jaco Kriel during AC’s tenure. He’s been forgotten. The current lot of centers are mediocre. Papier was a breath of fresh air against Scotland. Schreuder and van Zyl are mediocre too. Notshe is average at best but he must get the nod to fill transformation requirements, how sad. It leaves players like JL du Preez and Akker in the cold.

      • Barry

        No hidden agenda, I have been quite vocal about Esterhuizen. He has a great off load and his ratio of bash to pass is on another planet compared to the incumbent. he deserved a chance!
        I would also not have been shocked if they had given Notshe a run and rested Kolisi. I suspect his tank is empty and running on fumes!
        I would also have liked to see Schreuder come off the bench. He is more experienced than the others – the comparison would have been worthwhile!
        It’s not to be. We can but wish them well!

        I believe Pearce is the Glen. Don’t know much about him though

        • SweetAz

          Agreed, but Rassie is a bit between the devil and the deep blue sea here,–you drop your black captain and it will be a political uproar. The Welsh are ranked number 3 in the world so I’m expecting a loss anyway, he should have done what the AB’s are doing and cleared his bench by giving all the reserves a run. They are fresh and desperate to impress, the problem is when he loses nobody will understand that it’s against a higher ranked team, we will just have to hear a whining refrain about his win/loss record and transformation promises not kept.

          Oh,—and we need to pass the ball more.

  • Dean

    The biggest issue with our attack is that we can be predictable and it’s easy to defend against. Therein lies the rub. Faf and Willie are the only creative players in the team and without them we look ordinary on attack. As shown in the game against England at Twickenham and Australia in Brisbane. What’s the point of dominating the opposition if you are unable to translate that into points. This team needs a 12 who can create opportunities on attack and a more varied attack. Box kicks and shifting wide on attack cannot be our only means of attack play among the backline.

    • Barry

      Dean if you are going to discredit Esterhuizen, then please do it based on some facts and not just a biased personal dislike!
      Try for example Super Rugby stats over the entire comp – off loads in tackle – de Allende 6, Esterhuizen 18. Not exactly one dimensional is it Dean? We should also cast our minds back to our last game against Wales – The fist under the Erasmus era, the disastrous one with all the newbies in Washington! The only players to come out of the game with credible performances were Esterhuizen and Mpimpi! Under the circumstances you’d think he would be one of the obvious changes.
      Erasmus is pure and simply balancing the numbers – a sad day for sport!

      • Herman Schroder?

        Barry as I said on another post Rassie is in a pickle here. He is allowed to take 31 players to the WC. If one assumes that the 23 playing Wales will consist of 7 ( still don’t know DDA’s pedigree ) to 8 ‘black’ players that’s only about 33% of the squad. This means that for Rassie to achieve his preordained 50% representation, all of the additional 8 players to make up the 31 man squad must therefore be ‘black’ ? I assume they’re talking squad and not only the run on team. How’s he going to do that ?

        The problem here is twofold. Are there sufficient talented test hardened ‘blacks’ available to make up 50% of the squad at such short notice? And then with only three tests to prepare for the WC how does he get these players to gel into a well oiled cohesive unit with so many ‘new’ faces ? Considering that most of the other teams, like Ireland for example will arrive as cohesive battle hardened warriors all singing from the same sheet. A poisoned chalice indeed.

        Best of luck Rassie you’re sure gonna need it. Cheers.

      • Dean

        I agree with Mapimpi, he will challenge hard for Nkosi’s place. Esterhuizen’s performances in a Bok jersey have been mediocre to poor. He is the same type of player as de Allende. It’s replacing like for like. I’d pick Serfontein in midfield with Kriel on his outside. Pace and skill mixed. It’s balanced. Otherwise I’d go for Frans Steyn with Am. Unfortunately, like you said transformation targets won’t be reached in either case.

  • Albert

    I am coming to this party a bit late. So many comments and so many valid points. Even old Herman the hermit had some valid points. I think it is clear that messers Pollard, De Allende and Kriel are playing to a gameplan of get over the gainline, build pressure and when the defence is sucked in we go wide. But defensive systems are so good that they aren’t getting sucked in. But on the flip side, those same 3 players are not as creative as they should be.

    Pollard is a good player, and we must back him and Jantjies as our 10’s for the world cup. I have said this before, Kriel and De Allende are good players, but as a combo they do not work because they are too similar. I definitely think Am is Rassies first choice, and had he not been injured, Kriel would be on the bench every match this tour. And I even think Mapoe would have been there if not for injury.

    Anyway, I am just happy to see that at least this year nobody is beating us by landslide records. It is a great step up, so lets be realistic for a minute. Lots to improve upon, but it is on track I think.

    • SweetAz

      yep, nobody is beating us by lanslide’s,——-must be because we still play “domkrag”,——-or could it just be that our defence has improved and we are now playing proper rugby?

      • Johan

        Agreed, our defense is a lot better, with the same defense coach… Makes you wonder why?

        I personally think there is pride in the team again, the players play for each other and the country again
        Credit that to Rassie.

        However, our attack is very one dimensional.

        That is why it is called “domkrag”, I have no problem with “krag”, it is the heart and soul of our rugby, but we don’t have to be “dom”.

        The bok game plan:
        One pass from 9, crash into opposition, rinse, repeat… Kick if that isn’t working..

        Add an inside pass sometimes. if you get over the advantage line and pull in defenders, don’t crash again, you have the overlap use the wings. (As Oom has showed in numerous articles) Then crash again if your momentum slowed. etc.

        Lets adapt to slimkrag

        • SweetAz

          Agreed, I’ve been saying it for years,-we do have dom players. That said, I don’t believe we are that far off the pace as what certain pundits keep on kerming about. The Boks have always had a blend of power and speed, it was our unique style, Carel Du Plessis, Danie Gerber, Ray Mordt, Andre Joubert,—I can go on and on. The rules have changed and the game has changed, everyone has evolved to a certain extent. However SA has been in a unique situation of immense political and societal flux which has impacted everything, Rugby included. This has had a regressive effect.
          Every nation adapts its style to the “cattle” it has, the basic principles of space and time do not change but you adapt around the resources you have. The AB’s are unique in their Central Contracting which allows them to have a unified approach countrywide, they have adapted their style a few times, I recall the AB’s of old being very direct using forwards through the middle, totally different to the ‘Click” way they are trying to play now—-the Irish have adopted the same Central Contracting system but they do however play completely different styles of rugby, my bugbear is that some people here think that expansive rugby is the solution to everything,-its not.

          The answer is to have 15 men on the field who are firstly COHESIVE (cohesion is what permits you to understand time and space, you instinctively know where your teammates are and that grants you more time to make decisions), then you want them to be more skilled and physically superior to their opponents (ie your wings are faster than anybody else on the field and your locks can jump higher), lastly, you devise a plan based on field conditions, weather and the perceived weakness of your opponents and you will beat them most of the time. AND YOU WILL SCORE A LOT OF TRIES.

          South Africa has farted around for the last 25 years not addressing any of the issues in the previous paragraph, and that is why results have been hit and miss, – you only have to look at what Jake White and Nick Mallett experienced to understand the huge handicap the Boks operate under. I was personally incredibly negative about them for most of that time, – HOWEVER, for the first time in a very long time I am seeing something that gives me hope, I am seeing guys playing for the jersey and putting their bodies on the line,–something has changed and I can only assume its Rassie. Rassie impressed me back in his Free State days with his “disco lights” and taking a team of nobodies to a Currie Cup Final,—-they also happened to play the most exciting rugby in the country at the time.
          So I say give them a chance, give Rassie a chance and stop all this negative bullshit about domkrag and Rassie is a bad coach yadda yadda,–the guy has got 25 years of crap to flush out of the systems.

          • Herman Schroder?

            Excuse me for being a bit boorish here despite your pretty good post but what happened against Wales ??

            I won’t elaborate here, I’ll wait for an appropriate article to appear before once more telling you why Rassie and Co actually suck. Time to face reality old chap the glass is not half full or half empty it’s broken. Cheers.

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