Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Analysing the Springboks

This coming Saturday it won’t be wave after wave of clinical attack, but it will be a display of blunt force trauma.

S.A. have lost experience in their backline and have a 9 who has little experience at test level (perhaps the reason why Lawson was picked ahead of Laidlaw). Looks like this one is going to be teed up for the Ogres in green. Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis; Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield (capt); Juan Smith, Ryan Kankowski. Some big boys there.

Stegmann will be hunting for truffles all game, but with Kankowski expected to batter into contact at 100mph, and with Bakkies doing what Bakkies does, with or without a knuckle-duster, the breakdown could be brutal.

Indeed it is paramount for Scotland to nullify this. We have to up our game. We also need to get more physical in the lineout because, if we don’t at least get parity there, the Bokke play the game they love. Make no mistake, South Africa’s lineout is as efficient as a Scottish lass hoovering up chips and cheese at 3am; not many morsels get past them. That, and it’s not a pretty sight. Once it gets rolling S.A. will play a fairly dull game based on M. Steyn’s front foot boot (S.A. are now the only nation that values drop-goals more than entertainment, a bit like England 2000-2005!).

There are chinks in their armour, though. No doubt humiliated by the loss of two ‘offenders’ in their squad, and with the constant glare on their coach, and the third Chuckle Brother, Peter De Villiers, it can’t be great fun in camp right now. Something must come unstuck.

The true weakness in the Springbok game is exposed when teams opt  to cut back against the grain into their drifting centres and then offloading wider out once they’re through the gap. Their wingers aren’t used to turning, and even if they’re fast enough to make it back you are likely to get a penalty from the ‘eagerness’ of their pack in defence. This, however, means that Parks can’t use his crippling drift with ball in hand.

If we do this, and pass at the right time, challenge the lineout, clear our lines and get Evans one on one with a deftly-handed forward in behind (fingers crossed!) we can score some elusive tries. Do that and then Jackson can have the freedom of Murrayfield when he comes on, rather than waiting for the game to be beyond doubt. It would be nice to see South Africa self-destruct and let us experiment a little bit, because Samoa is only one game to try things out before we are in the pressure cooker of the 6N…..

Support N50 Sports

7 Responses

  1. Do you think Spies for Kankowski is much of a loss then? I thought it might be but it seems like a like for like swap, if you will forgive the amount of likes in this sentence. Agree that the forwards need to find parity at first or it could be another long day. Still, I’m a lot more hopeful about this one than I was about the last and I think if they got into the sort of position they found themselves in a couple of years ago this team would manage to close it out…

  2. I think A.D has pointed out the one area where the Boks are ‘brittle’ which is the backline, however if the conditions are wet underfoot then the close game will benefit the Boks more than Scotland, the rolling maul is an awesome weapon of theirs. Question marks around Kanko persist as he is a lethal weapon in a open expansive game but nullified in the ruck/maul situation, however your comment about a dull game lets me remind you that regardless of the style of play their win ratio against Northern hemishere teams is admirable, to me its lucky they dont play and expansive game because if they click then Scotland are on a hiding to nothing. My call is Boks by 15

  3. M. Steyn must dream of the rolling maul at night. Makes his job sickeningly easy.
    Kankowski can do this, and this at int’l level. It does help, though, that Stegmann is almost exactly like Brussow. He will try to kill lots of ball and has amassed alot of tackles in the Currie Cup. I think they can only play a guy like Kankowski if a guy with his nose to the ground, like a Stegmann or Brussow, plays.
    SA may be winners, but it isn’t always Champagne stuff. They don’t mind winning by 3 points. PdV’s position depends on it, actually. That’s why his selection will only risk guys like F. Steyn (and he is highly talented, but doesn’t regularly play in SA with and against majority of the team) and J. de Villeirs (who wasn’t great at Munster and hasn’t really done much since being back in SA for a limited time) who have done the business in the past, and will hopefully do enough for PdV not to get sacked.
    That’s why they won’t play expansively and guys like Stefan Terblanche won’t be chucked in.
    Fingers crossed for Saturday…

  4. Scotland do not have a chance. All this drivvle before last weeks game saying we can beat the All Blacks… rubbish. We arent fit enough, skillful enough or powerful enough. We do not have a single player that would get into South Africas team… even in their depleted squad. Boks by 15 is very conservative!

You might also like these:

Craig is joined by Jonny and Rory to look back at the disappointing end to Edinburgh's season and Glasgow's march towards the semi finals.
Gregor Townsend has named a largely experimental squad for the summer tour of the Americas. It's not a question of who misses out, but rather who is actually going, writes Rory.
Iain is joined by Jonny and John to discuss the penultimate round of URC fixtures as well as the recent Scottish Rugby Writers' Awards
Craig is joined by John on the injured reserve list to have a wee look at the URC action from the weekend.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion