It was a bitter disappointment from the Springboks when they narrowly beat the All Blacks 35-23 in the Rugby Championship at Ellis Park last weekend.
But with the competition only two games away and all four teams separated by just one point on the log, the Boks will have to dust themselves off and focus their attention on three tough away matches, the next two being in Australia.
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It hasn’t been a happy away hunting ground for the Boks as they haven’t won in Australia since 2013, although they came close in 2017 when they drew in Perth.
The Boks were favorites last year and were beaten twice, only winning the first game 28-26 before dominating the second 30-17 and they will need to put in a lot more effort in this round if they are to cancel these results.
“I think the wallabies are a very different fish to what we got against New Zealand and Wales. Going to them, we will have to change very little. They have a completely different style of attack and defense and the way they do everything,” Bok coach Jacques Ninaber admitted.
“We will have to take a good look at these two games (against the All Blacks). See where our game is. Where we’re building, where we’re growing, where we’re slowly growing, and then we’ll have to focus on Australia.
“We haven’t had results against them for quite some time, so it’s going to be a challenge for us there.”
After beating the All Blacks 26-10 in the Rugby Championship opener, the Boks had a great chance to reinforce their credentials in the competition at Ellis Park, but instead took two steps back and will need to take a hard look at their game plan.
In particular, their over-reliance on kicking, which saw them give away possession with three minutes to go, attacking the All Blacks’ half during a chase that ended with the visitors breaking down the other side and scoring themselves.
“It depends on the players in those situations. We have a certain plan for the game, but as part of it, the players have to use their experience and talent,” Ninaber explained.
“If the player felt it was the right thing to do in that situation, I’ll back him because we picked him. But that’s probably one of the things we’ll have to evaluate. Could we have done something different there, yes, I think so. I thought we passed the ball well (in the match).
“But let’s say we win the ball and score a try, we’d say that’s a great decision. Therefore, we must be careful not to focus only on the result. Just because we got a negative result doesn’t mean it was a bad decision, maybe it was poor execution.”