Is Gatland assertive or just a bit cocky? Firing from the hip the dragon rider had the following to say as they landed at the airport in Wellington:
“They don’t play any rugby,” Gatland told reporters in Wellington on Saturday, a day after his side arrived in New Zealand for the Sept. 9-Oct. 23 tournament, before he clarified his statement.
“They’re very good at what they do in terms of set piece and they put the ball up in the air, use the power runners effectively and they’re a strong defensive side.
“We pretty much know what they’re going to do.
“(Morne) Steyn kicks penalties and drop goals and they will play to their strengths because that’s what they’re good at doing (and) they’re definitely a hard side to beat.”
Gatland said the key to beating the Springboks, therefore, would be to match them physically, which he was confident his side would be able to do.
This guy can coach make no mistake and some of his observations are in all fairness not totally of the mark.
What I do find cocky though is the fact that the Dragons have won only one test in more than 100 years against SA. Also they lost their last RWC encounters against Samoa and Fiji.
Considering the size of the South Africans, the Somoans and Fijians and not so tiny ‘biltong boere’ from Namibia I do believe that size matters in this Pool of D’eath.
Last time I looked through my magnifying glass at the Welshies I had real problems convincing the females in our group that there was anything sizable enough amongst the dragons from the valley’s to elicit any form of excitement.
What does concern me is that we do hit them first still unbruised, fresh and full of confidence after they smashed the POMS in the August warm-up games.
They might put up a decent performance against us in the first match but I have my doubts whether the rugby-romantics-from-the-valley’s have the bulk to survive four bruising encounters in Pool D.