Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
10 Nov 2018
8:45 am

Four things the Springboks need to do to win in Paris

Heinz Schenk

For one thing, they need to trust the mercurial talents of the returning Willie le Roux.

Willie le Roux during the South African national rugby team training session at Insep High Performance Centre on November 06, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

The Springboks’ quest for a successful year-end tour hit a snag last week after a frustrating defeat to England.

But on Saturday Rassie Erasmus’ can get back on track fairly summarily against France in a late kickoff in Paris.

This is what they need to do to achieve a positive result.

Give Willie le Roux freedom

The reason for trying to box in 20-year-old Damian Willemse last week was understandable.

After all, this was a rookie playing at Twickenham for the first time.

Yet in hindsight, the Boks dominated proceedings to such an extent that they could’ve been more incisive on attack had they perhaps given Willemse a bit of a licence to show off his creative playmaking ability.

Surely that’s something that will be encouraged with the experienced Le Roux back.

He’s at his best when he’s allow to operate instinctively and has shown in the past that he can keep things tight without keeping himself on too much of a leash.

Le Roux could add the final ingredient missing from the Boks’ attack.

Consistency in midfield please!

Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende aren’t necessarily a particularly “sexy” centre combination.

Both are hard, direct runners, whose strength isn’t really playmaking.

Regardless, they’re a combination that works well together and have been able to find their place in Erasmus’ game-plan.

But the duo still haven’t found consistency at international level.

For example, Kriel was excellent against the All Blacks at Loftus, while De Allende stood out in London.

What the Boks now need is not for them to only replicate their individual performances, but do so together.

Rampaging Kolisi

Given the burden that Siya Kolisi has had to carry in 2018, whether it’s as leader or player, he can probably be forgiven for having an off-day.

It’s just unfortunate that it had to happen last week.

The 27-year-old was outstanding in the latter stages of the Rugby Championship, with his ability break the line and also link up with other attackers being a highlight.

The Springboks need their captain to be that type of all-round presence again, especially in a loose trio that features a powerful but slowish Duane Vermeulen and Warren Whiteley, who still struggles to truly convince at this level.

Patience, patience and patience

While it’s unlikely that the Boks will truly back up their “we’ll tackle like Owen Farrell” mantra from this week, it’s likely that they will be on the edge for further frustrating refereeing decisions.

Not that one expects any hiccups with the consistently excellent Nigel Owens blowing the whistle.

Nonetheless, South Africa need to keep a cool head collectively and not rely on adjudications to go their way.

Rather, they need to look inward and ensure that they capitalise on the opportunities they create.

If points are on the board, dodgy decisions shouldn’t matter.

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