My predominant feeling after the SA/Australia match was that I want to puke. It was one of those matches that the Aussies didn’t won we lost it.
They didn’t create the win we created the loss through bad mistakes, stupid decision making and by going into a defensive mindset.
There were a number of things in this match that left me wanting to puke afterwards but let me outline the 5 main ones:
- No line speed on defence
- Stopped playing and going on a defensive mindset after taking the lead in the first half
- Losing the ball in contact mainly because we try and barge through defenders instead of attacking space
- Horrible decision making at crucial times in the match
- Bringing the playmakers on too late in the match.
No line speed on defence
The Pumas in their game used an age old tactic of the Springboks to play the All Blacks to an absolute standstill. The commentators called it line speed on defence. It has been called rush-up defence in Jake Whites time but it is essentially pressure on the halfbacks before the advantage line.
Literally every single time we have beaten the All Blacks singe 1921 we have done so by trapping their half backs behind their forward pack. Flat on defence making absolutely sure they get no front foot momentum or time to orchestrate starter or planned moves from set piece. This is in essence all the Pumas did, they took the All Black playmakers out of the game with speed off the line and low tackles.
Line speed was totally absent in the Springbok game against the Aussies. We had absolutely no line speed on defence. We were waiting for them on our side of the advantage line and our midfield defence was found wanting on a number of occasions because of that; it is hard to tackle a opposing player charging at full speed towards you if you stand still. It is far easier to tackle a fast and/or big player before he has running momentum namely when he receives the ball. Most importantly the player who is hitting the collions with the greatest speed will move forward in the tackle. So go ask the Argies how to prevent the opponents from creating front foot ball; how to take opposition playmakers out of the game – you hit the attackers behind their advantage line low and hard before they built-up momentum.
Neither our loose forwards nor our backline moved up on defence and that kept Cooper and Genia in the match.
Stopped playing after taking an early lead
This is by far the thing I find the most irritating. It annoys the absolute hell out of me when we stop playing once we are ahead on the score board.
This Aussie side is poor. Absolutely horribly poor as evidenced by the fact that it took them almost 60 minutes to make up 7 points while we were not even trying to score points. We only played for about 5 to 10 minutes in the first 70 minutes of the game. It took us 5 minutes of constructive rugby -between minutes 15 and 20 of the first half- to score a try and then we stopped. After scoring the Habana try we didn’t run with the ball again until we fell behind in the sixtieth minute of the game.
Attack is the best form of defence. A cliché maybe but it remains true. There is no killer instinct in the team; no desire to put the opposition away.
Losing the ball in contact
How many more times are Willem Alberts going to lose the ball in contact? Every time we start to get momentum Alberts lost the ball before the advantage line while trying to barge it up. He loses it before the advantage line mainly because he receives it standing still. I could see the lack of line speed problem in the first minute of the game. Why the hell could Meyer and the supporting coaching staff not see it? This cost us the match. You can’t create pressure and turnover ball without line speed on defence. You can’t create front foot ball and a disorganised defence without line speed on attack.
Our ‘balanced’ loose forwards were unbearably shyte with regard to line speed. I don’t care how big or strong or fast they are if they don’t put pressure on the opposition by hitting the line with speed on attack and defence then they are absolutely worthless. The rule of thumb in New Zealand is that the effectiveness of your loose trio (and team for that matter) is determined by the speed of the slowest loose forward.
Our balanced loose forwards are too slow. They can’t stay with the pace of the game; they have no perception of how to run with speed onto the ball; how to attack space; how to offload; how to link with the inside backs and they are way too predictable.
Entering the contact area in predictable fashion in slow motion and in an upright position allow the defence to gang tackle them behind the defensive line and rip the ball out of their hands.
Horrible decision making
Frans Steyn did it last week against the Pumas and he did it again this week namely skip passing the ball to the widest attacker when our backs have a man over situation. WTF!!! It’s a no brainer; passing the ball to the man on the outside allows the defence to drift onto you. For Pete sake just move the ball though the hands and draw the defender before you shift it on to the next man. How difficult is that?
The worst case –and this is also not the first time that this happen – was Ruan Pienaar kicking a box kick with 8 minutes or so left on the clock after we’ve just equalled the score. That box kick in his own 25 after he slowed the ball down by repeatedly toeing it back into a poorly constructed ruck resulted in Ben Alexander’s try. What the hell was he thinking? You’ve just equalled the match, there is less than 8 minutes left on the clock your main thought has to be to get back into the oppositions 25 and play from there.
Another example is when the lineout caller decided to go deep –for the first time in the match- with 3 or 5 minutes left on the clock just after Liebenberg came on the field. You’re running out of time, your replacement hooker just came on and you decide to throw the ball to the back of the lineout. Dumb, just f**king dumb and idiotic decision making.
To be absolutely straightforward I can’t remember the last time I was so pissed off with a Springbok team.
Playmakers too late onto the field
Francios Louw, Johan Goossen and Patrick Lambie made immediate impact when they came on. The game sped-up and you could see the desperation in the Aussie team.
You add Daniel or Kankowski and Gio Aplan to that mix and you have a lethal bunch of impact players that can win you matches.
Bringing them on with only 10 minutes left on the clock is however a bit too late I reckon.
On a last note Duanne Vermeulen made a massive impact – Yeah right!! Unfair comment – maybe? What do you expect from a player who has been recovering from injury since the 6th match of the S15?