Wise Welsh block Bok lineout

Tank Lanning

It was a disappointing finish to the European tour for South Africa as they were beaten 20-11 by a tactically-astute Welsh side at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Clearly a tactical ploy by Warren Gatland, Wales limited the Boks to just 5 lineouts in the game, and managed to poach 1 of those 5. Having won all 8 of their own feeds, the Welsh were able to put a lid on a key attacking asset in the relatively limited Bok armoury.

It was a smart play that worked well on the day.

And having made the call to kick less in Cardiff, the Boks made more carries, and more metres with ball in hand, than Wales, but a failure to execute saw the visitors struggle.

Pieter-Steph du Toit (11 carries), Franco Mostert and Steven Kitshoff (both on 10 carries) were the designated ball-carriers for the Boks as they aimed to get gain-line ascendancy, but often found themselves working alone, especially in the second half. Hence the high number of handling errors and turnovers conceded – a proper momentum-killer.

In a clear departure from what had worked in the previous Tests, Handre Pollard and Jesse Kriel were tasked with doing damage with ball in hand. They each made 11 carries and often skipped Damien de Allende, who only made 2 carries all game. It was an obvious attempt to add some width to their game, but that width then makes recycling the ball a lot tougher.

Both sides also had very different kicking strategies. The Boks generally kicked from 9 (Embrose Papier 7, Ivan van Zyl 3), while 12 of Wales’ 24 kicks came from Gareth Anscombe and Dan Bigger at 10. The Boks were leading the kicking contest 11-9 at half time, but ended up making 1 kick less (24-23) come full time as Van Zyl made less use of the boot.

Wales scored two early tries through Tomas Francis and Liam Williams via some poor Bok defence. Anscombe converted both and this scoreboard pressure seemed to add to what was by far the most disorganised performance under coach Rassie Erasmus.

The South Africans now return home from their month-long tour of the northern hemisphere with two wins and two losses.

“Today (Saturday) was perhaps the first time that I felt we were outplayed after we were always in with a chance in all our other games,” was the forthright assessment of Erasmus.

“They came with no surprises and we knew exactly what they were going to do, but I felt we didn’t adjust our plan like we should have. Wales were good with their kicking game and solid in defence and although we created opportunities our finishing and discipline let us down,” added Erasmus.

Skipper Siya Kolisi did manage to see some positives after the game:  “We are making progress and although we are nowhere near where we want to be, we are heading in the right direction.”

A look at the match stats from Cardiff:

Match information:

Points: WAL 20-11 SA

Tries: WAL 2-1 SA

Penalty goals: WAL 2-2 SA

Goal kicking %: WAL 80% – 50% SA

Possession: WAL 51% – 49% SA

Territory: WAL 39% – 61% SA

Ball in play: 38 minutes


Attacking stats:

Ball Carries: WAL 98-117 SA

Metres run: WAL 541-781 SA

Metres per carry: WAL 5.5-6.7 SA

Line breaks: WAL 1-1 SA

Tackle breaks: WAL 4-16 SA

Passes: WAL 125-180 SA

Good Passes: WAL 108-170 SA

Offloads: WAL 9-5 SA

Rucks won: WAL 80-105 SA

Rucks lost: WAL 5-5 SA

Mauls won: WAL 6-3 SA

Mauls lost: WAL 0-1 SA

Turnovers conceded: WAL 19-15 SA


Defensive stats:

Tackles made: WAL 164-124 SA

Tackles missed: WAL 19-14 SA

Tackle success: WAL 90% – 91% SA

Tackle turnover: WAL 1-0 SA

Dominant tackles: WAL 0-15 SA


Kicking stats:

Kicks from hand: WAL 24-23 SA

Metres kicked: WAL 627-578 SA

Metres per kick: WAL 26-25 SA


Error stats:

Handling errors: WAL 12-16 SA

Penalties conceded: WAL 8-9 SA

Yellow cards: WAL 0-0 SA


First phase stats:

Lineouts won: WAL 8-4 SA

Lineouts stolen: WAL 1-0 SA

Scrums won: WAL 11-6 SA

Scrums lost: WAL 0-0 SA

Own kickoff won: WAL 0-0 SA

Own kickoff lost: WAL 4-5 SA

- Tank Lanning

Let's chat

  • SweetAz

    Well lets just get this out of the way first,- Both Welsh tries were because of Lions players, Marx and Dyanti may be very good playing fairytale running rugby, but like the fairies they are they don’t like to tackle and don’t do it very well,—maybe a bit too focussed on playing “expansive rugby”.
    Secondly, 2 tries went begging from PSDT and Jesse which on any other day could have gone in,-2 clear chances missed. The Boks had the ascendancy and didn’t take their chances, the Welsh did. In fact, the Boks had more linebreaks and created more chances than the Welsh. Just goes to show once again it was defence which won the test match.
    Nevertheless, if we remove the penalty Biggar kicked which should never been awarded as sure as God made little green apples a Welshman went off his feet onto a player (Dyanti) on the ground WAYYYY before any holding on occurred and we add those other 2 tries you are looking at a potential 17 point swing and the Welsh would have lost this game.
    To conclude, we played the Number 3 team in the world and looked better than them for most of the match (in my books), so it’s not all doom and gloom.
    Tank,- whats with Rassie speaking to Duane on the headphones,—I thought Kolisi was captain?

    • Herman Schroder?

      Putting your foot in it again Sir ? Trying to bash the two LIONS players nominated for WORLD RUGBY AWARDS with one winning it, while ignoring all the other players stumbling around the park for 80 minutes ?? No doubt you were trying to get a response from me and here’s my take.

      Playing ‘fairy tale’ rugby got those guy to yet another SR final while the other Franchises dragged SA rugby through the mud. They both proved they could play test rugby ( note awards ) but then the poor guys had to adapt to the dom krag circus provided by our coaching ‘wizard’ Rassie who was outsmarted by just about every coach he came across. Then he picks a plethora of failed again Stormers and Bulls players for the Boks and surrounds the two award nominated Lions players with one trick ponies. AC did the same thing with the same results. See the pattern here ?

      You often accuse me of repetition but that old ‘what if so and so had happened’ then the Boks would have won rubbish is not your brightest take on cause and effect. If the Boks had scored who’s to say the Welsh wouldn’t have changed their tactics and come back stronger ? Also if that’s the case then you should take into account the Wales near misses as well , you can’t have it both ways. I’ts a feeble argument old chap.

      Note above I said, ‘changed their tactics’. The only team that is seemingly incapable of changing tactics is Rassie’s Boks the most predictable team in world rugby. Why do you think most coaches OUTSMART Rassie regularly ? You’re clutching at straws mate. ( Hey I’m beginning to enjoy your capital letter option, thanks )

      A worse year than AC had last year and there’s no doom and gloom ?? As I’ve said before your standards are pretty low. Cheers.

      PS : as for DJ DV he was asking Rassie what was on the menu back at their hotel.

    • Tank Lanning Tank Lanning

      Nowhere near doom and gloom, agree. Boks creating plenty opportunities, now need to finish. Contenders in every single game. No blow outs. Beat the All Blacks. Unlucky loss to England at Twickers. Lots and lots of good.

      As i understand it, Rassie wanted to speak to DV about his shoulder/neck injury. Hence him being subbed a minute or two later. Nothing untoward.

      • Herman Schroder?

        A wee bit too optimistic there Tank. Unlucky loss to England but lucky win against France and a very, very lucky win at Wellington. The problem is there was no palpable improvement over the 14 tests. The players doing their jobs and showing some grit and gees does not a winning team make. Rugby smarts in short supply all season. Also remember the ‘tackle’ penalty if it was awarded would still have to have been landed by Pollard who showed a decided lack of BMT from the tee in his last few outings. so no certainty there. Cheers.

        PS have responded to SweetAz above.

      • Chris

        Curious to hear your opinion on Rassie’s Barbarians squad.

        He risking some key bok personnel. These guys must be tired as hell and looking forward to coming home for a break. I’m not sure what he expects to get out of that. Nothing more to learn from these guys as they’ve been starting for the boks all year long.

        Seems it would have been a great opportunity to give a springbok bench a go or bring some guys like Du preez and Akker VdM over.

        • SweetAz

          Agreed,—-he should have selected 10 “quota” players from SA to give them caps and experience. Show the world the incredible talent.

  • Albert

    The Boks looked tired and slightly off the pace, however I agree completely with SweetAz above that at times we looked the better team. We just lacked energy to support, to stay focused. Both welsh tries were from players losing focus and maybe not giving 100%. Very disappointing.

    It has become very clear that you cannot judge teams on their respective end of year tours. We beat England when they were very tired and just wanted to be on holiday. We then lost against England and Wales when we were very tired and just wanted to be sipping cocktails on the beach.

    But, and being an optimist helps, the improvement shown by the Boks this year speaks volumes. We were only outplayed once all year. our loss in Argentina was our worst match all year. The Wales match on Saturday was actually not bad.

    • Herman Schroder?

      Also known as clutching at straws. Cheers.

  • Chris

    Dyanti coming out of the defensive line reminds me of a Pitbull I raised. When I didn’t give him a good run on a regular basis he’d tear up my garden out of frustration.
    Rassie needs to find a way to bring the wings into the game a bit more. Maybe running of 10 or 12’s houlder for a offload once in a while.

    • Herman Schroder?

      Spot on. Dom krag reigns supreme. Cheers.

    • Albert

      I know what you mean. It is bizarre that our wings don’t actually go running good support lines when on attack. Very simple attacking patterns which does beg the question of who is actually coaching the attack and why can’t the attack coach introduce some simple support runners from blind side, deep runs, angled runs?

      • Herman Schroder?

        It’s not in Rassie’s game plan, you know the one that doesn’t require much innovation to implement. Swys is coaching them to Rassie’s outdated game plan so to expect him to bring in his Lions template is pushing it a bit too far. In any case most of the players are not geared for ‘expansive’ intelligent rugby. Cheers.

  • Barry

    I am a big Erasmus supporter, I believe he has made a big difference and we are on a far brighter path than we were a year ago!
    However, it is now year end and a time we should be taking stock. Time for a bit of honesty, a bit of introspection. A time to look at what didn’t work and what could have been better, for without this we cannot improve. In brief (I’ll leave the novel to Herman)
    Wales test – We were poor. Carry stats will tell you we were running on empty. This is not new, so why did we fall into the same trap? Why did we not make use of fresh squad players in either this or an earlier test?

    The midfield dilemma has been going on for 6 or 7 tests now, why does it take so long for the penny to drop. Why take along an additional specialist 7 and then not play him, when the incumbent is out of sorts?

    There has already been much said about the exclusion of the Du Preez brothers and Akker VDM. My question is why take along three newbies from WP, with no intention of giving them game time (and Brits for that matter) when we could rather have had experienced guys like Du Preez who would have had a great impact on the outcome of this tour?

    The question of a third scrum half and a workable alternative at 15 remains unresolved! They have almost stubbornly plugged away with guys that have half a Super Rugby year under their belts and frankly we are no closer to a solution!

    Next years tests will be about fine tuning for the WC so our opportunity to find further depth has passed. Surely the Barbarian game was a rich and final opportunity to do just that, but instead we select the guys that were too tired to put in a decent showing this past weekend!

    • Chris Mouton

      Barry, you make some valid points. Our biggest problem is the midfield. Once we have decent centres and a decent attacking plan where we actually use our dangerous wings our backline will be a force to be reckoned with. The only reason why the backline looks better when Pollard plays 12 is because he CAN actually distribute the ball. I would’ve loved to see Esterhuizen and Nel play together. I know Esterhuizen can pass and take contact. He has some monstrous tackling as well.

      Our defense has improved in general, but it really bothers me that our wings are shooting in like that. Wales exploited us mercilessly and one of their tries was a direct result of Dyantyi shooting in. Speaking of, he had a shocker of a game. It kind of blemishes his Breakthrough Player of the Year award.

      As far as I know Akker had an operation, so he wouldn’t have been able to play. No idea what Ouman Brits is doing there. What was the point of Ouman Aplon as well if he didn’t get a chance to play? There was ample opportunity to play Schreuder, Schickerling and Petersen as well. I am so sad about the Du Preez brothers missing out. Especially Dan, who had an exceptional Currie Cup. We’re going to lose these players and SA rugby will be worse off for it. Robert and JL are winning Sale Sharks games for them.

      I would’ve included a lot of these fringe players for the Barbarians game. Instead he chose a lot of people with too much game time. Personally I would’ve given SP Marais or Curwin Bosch a try as I think they fit the mould of Willie more or less. Bosch has some exceptional kicking.

      Let’s see how things go with Super Rugby next year. We just have to be careful to give the first-choice Bok players some decent rotation and not play them into the ground. Rassie didn’t do too bad in his first year, so let’s see how the 2nd goes. One thing is for sure, the World Cup is wide open! I believe Ireland, England, Wales, New Zealand and South Africa all stand a decent chance. Scotland will also give people a run for their money.

      • Barry

        On the same page Chris. Living in hope!

    • SweetAz

      Barry, I’m going to open up a can of worms here but we all know about the 50% requirement. If you look at the positions you are talking about they have all the better “quota’s” in them, so ask yourself, were the Du Preez brothers and Akker ever realistically going to the RWC?
      It is what it is and Rassie is trying his best to get everybody as many caps as possible as ANY experience is useful, even if its just being part of an elite tour group learning the calls and experiencing the drills etc.
      And before the usual suspects jump on my case telling me he took the job knowing this I ask you this,–Do you seriously think there is any decent international coach who would have taken this job and agreed to the same conditions?
      It also explains WHY he has a long contract,-SARU know full well the ramifications of the 50% requirement, they have eventually figured out that there isn’t a chance in hell of the Boks being nr 1 IN THE SHORT TERM and know that for any coach to have any success he needs first and foremost to have the support of the playing group, Rassie has that. Secondly, he has to formulate plans his “cattle” are capable of executing, when you look at what he has at his disposal the KISS principle is really all we can expect.
      The Brits selection and “overseas mercenaries” are selected for the same reason,—-do you remember when BEE was introduced and all the White Managers were expected to train there replacements and then subsequently kept on as “contractors” just so the job still got done?—Well this is the Rugby equivalent.

      • Barry

        Sweet I think there’s a bit more to it than a question of making numbers. Three of the four I mention were white players, not players of color that went to Europe. My point really is, regardless of color, take players along that have a realistic chance of contributing.

        More so it does not explain the Barbarian selection either. That was a great opportunity to spread the net a bit, but instead we overplay the players that are already overplayed!

        • SweetAz

          Fair enough, but the coloured ones are injured at the moment. I’m talking Mapoe, Amm, Notshe, Ralepele, Mtwawira etc. Perhaps those players you want in the team have already let him know they are not that interested as they can make more money overseas without being 3rd or 4th choice simply because they lack pigmentation,—-we will never know. The poor guy has to walk an incredible tightrope of building a relatively competent squad that won’t experience the 57-0 scenario all the time keeping the white players happy as well. If you think about it there may not have been a huge difference between the squads AC picked and what Rassie picked, BUT for me, the difference is he has managed to motivate everybody and get them to play for the jersey. That in itself is a minor miracle because there is a very good reason hundreds of players are playing overseas and guys like Frans Steyn and Bismarck aren’t that interested. When BEE started I was one of the first guys out the door to start my own business, some people just see through the BS more clearly than others.
          Let’s be really honest with ourselves,–if we choose a 50% team with the players available AND WILLING to play for the Boks we don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning a RWC for the foreseeable future.

          The Barbarian thing is a mistake, in my opinion, he is risking players getting injured etc,—I would have chosen the most valuable players from all my main competition at the RWC and given them a game plan guaranteed to do in their ACL’s etc,—-LOL.—my team would have Coles, Retaillick, Ioane, Barrett in it and I would run them into the ground.
          Now let me get out my umbrella to avert the shytestorm calling me a racist nazi etc.

          • Barry

            No, not really, Akker VDM and the Du Preez bros were in the mix at Currie Cup final time and certainly were not on their way overseas st that point. The announcement came as some what of a shock, where the “surprise inclusions” were not from the winning team but rather the losers and the expected inclusions were also out the door. Yes it’s a difficult job, but what happened here was a screw up and Erasmus must take accountability for that – taking the good with the bad! I

            The return of a number of players of color will help the process but there will be injuries regardless and ostracizing a big chunk of the upper tier of the SA playing community will not help the cause. He needs to address this urgently!

            There are a number of players (of color) on the outskirts that could have been hooked into the Barbarians game. Bosch, Leyds, Galant, Skosan, Mvovo. We could also have tested alternatives at 15 and 9. SP Marais, or Bosch and Schroeder and Reinach at 9. The Du Preez and VDM could also have been included. In this way we could have kept fringe players in the loop but instead we’ve shown them a shut door- Don!

            Time for some serious introspect!

    • Barry

      Should read 12 not 7

  • Jefferson

    Barry well said, we are very far from “fine tuning” more like survival. Yes there have been glimpses of hope but bottom line is we cannot score tries when the pressure is on and Saturday was the best example of this we’ve had all year. We can talk all year about “the ref” and what should have been this is irrelevant …..the score line rules. Rassie has a bigger problem than even he seems to realize. Its really hard to see any light at the end of this season and wouldn’t expect a change from No 5 in the world next year either. We were fortunate to beat the French in extra time and even the Scotts wont be easy in the 2019 World Cup they have really improved. Ireland will be a very difficult task.

  • Alberto

    What utter horse-shit!!! The Boks did not decide to kick less and keep the ball in hand – they kicked like the handle – SHIT!!! Their kicks are predictable, poor and not contested – the carries are unsupported or the support is slow…DDA is utterly predictable – Pollard tried to mix it up (when he wasn’t tackling) and must have been bone-tired by the start of the second half… Who cares about our line-out? It always fails sooner or later – especially neer the opposition goal line…
    The only thing you got right was that the Welsh saw us coming – and beating us was little more than a practice match – so where is the improvement Siya…?

    • Herman Schroder?

      I have purposefully entered this debate late to assess what the general response would be. The usual suspects like SweetAz with his rose tinted spectacles on and Tank doing what scribes do best, sugarcoat everything, have not disappointed.

      On the flip side ( my side ) I’m encouraged by the objectivity displayed with the general consensus being that Rassie’s tenure was flawed in many ways and as I predicted by him trying to please everybody, he ended up pleasing no one. Not one person can safely say that we are remotely ready for the WC at this stage and I don’t think four more tests will be enough to fill the cracks.

      Tank maintains that we didn’t have any blow outs this year which is true but conversely if you take that 57-0 drubbing out of the equation under AC the Boks actually performed better last year who only had 4 losses in thirteen matches. A recent article compared the two and AC came out tops in most categories. Yes I know if you compare first years then it’s a different story but AC had far more restrictions than Rassie had and ER called in a plethora of overseas mercenaries to boost his squad. Strangely enough they never really added value and only succeeded in muddying the waters as I predicted it would.

      Well it’s all water under the bridge now and as pointed out by many on this site it just has not been good enough. Next year transformation will need to be accelerated big time ( remember it’s election year as well ) and in four tests Rassie has to find a settled squad with an acceptable ‘colour’ mix a game plan that extends far beyond dom krag and players with more than just stampkar attributes but who possess skill, vision and rugby nous.

      The captaincy will also need to be seriously looked at as well. WC pressure is way more than your average test match and Siya, nice guy that he is, has not convinced he has the nous or leadership skills to win the WC. DV also not the obvious choice, nous lacking imo. Whitely, who should be a shoe in based on proven results, does not seem to fit the dom krag mould required by our limited coach. Unless ER has a total change of heart he will no doubt stick with Siya to prevent an election year sandstorm. And that’s why transformation imperatives simply do not work folks

      So that puts the test season to bed and regrettably no one’s the wiser. There are more questions than answers and dom krag still rules !!. Gee whiz I really thought I could change my tune this year but to no avail so the fight continues next year. All that remains is for me to say ‘I told you so’. Cheers and have a great festive season.

  • Logan

    I have to agree with SweetAz about the 50% bee Rassie has to work under. For me Kolisi was one of the biggest problems. He should not be in the Squad and same can be said of Notche. The du preez twins should have been in the team and at least been on the bench.

    Imagine having a backrow of Vermeulen and the Du Preez twins and shifting Peter step to the lock.

    I would have gladly picked Bongi at 2 to start a few games as Marx have been a bit wayward with his throwing.

    But agree we should have treated this tour like a world cup pool or even knock out stage. We can only doing this by bringing fresh players on.

  • John Williams

    Has any Bok flyhalf ever had to tackle as much as Pollard had to on Saturday? Why should this be necessary? We are also lacking in two basic skills viz. catching & passing a rugby ball & this is costing us big-time. Unfortunately these skills should already be fostered at primary school level.
    We also need a No.12 with a rugby brain– our backline at present seems to be fixated on running at the opposition
    & is lacking in finesse. What has happened to Francois Venter?

  • Herman Schroder?

    For those desperate to read my ‘novel’ it was posted under Alberto’s post above. Must have Bok fatigue. Cheers.

Comments are closed.