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Preparing for the Rugby Championship

Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, The Rugby Championship on 19 Jun 2013 at 11:41
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

The international rugby season is in its 3rd week as the Southern Hemisphere welcomes the Northern Hemisphere to their playing fields. England have gone to Argentina, France is touring New Zealand, the British & Irish Lions are touring Australia and Italy, Samoa and Scotland are playing the Springboks.

The question is, when the Rugby Championship kicks off, will the Springboks have had sufficient opposition to have prepared themselves?

Heyneke Meyer surprised with his inclusion of Willie Le Roux, Jano Vermaak, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein and Arno Botha; maybe not on form but it seemed a bit adventurous from Meyer. Not going for his go-to guys and especially with the selection of Le Roux, one gets the feeling that national coaches stay away from players like Le Roux, who is maybe a bit unpredictable at times and not one-dimensional in his thinking. Le Roux likes to play whats in front of him, if he sees half a gap he’ll back himself, rather than opting for the chip kick then the up and under. Le Roux is definitely a player that can swing the game in our favour.

The Springboks played a more attack game against the Italians, running more than the usual kick and chase we’ve become accustomed to over the last season. One can almost say they played a bit adventurously, and scoring 5 tries is also not something we would see too often from the men in Green and Gold. The Boks enjoyed 83% of the possession and 65% of the territory. They had a good first game to get the season off to a good start and the general feeling after the 44 – 10 win against the Azzurri might have been, that it’s looking positive and we can work with this.

In the second test against the Scots it was however a different story. With most of the Scots in the British & Irish Lions squad they had a fairly young team with nothing to lose. They challenged the Boks at the breakdown and with a solid defense made it difficult for the Boks to play the running game that worked so well for them a week before. The Boks reverted back to what they know best and went for the aerial route. In giving more ball away they only had 60% to play with and it took them 49 minutes to score their first try, which ended in a penalty try. Its also been a promising start for JJ Engelbrecht who scored his second try in only his second test and Jan Serfontein who also scored his first try.

The Boks will face Samoa this weekend in the final of the four nations challenge, but what team will we see, the one who kept ball possession and ran it to the opposition or the one that puts it in the air and play off the opponents mistakes?

Will the games against Samoa, Scotland and Italy be sufficient for the Rugby Championship? They will enter the competition with some wins under their belt, but so will New Zealand and maybe Australia against much stronger opposition. Will we be taking a false sense of confidence out of these games or will it be enough for our quest to win the Rugby Championship?


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