Sport | Rugby
The Springboks will need an ace up their sleeve when taking on England in the Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama in Japan tomorrow, believes former Lions coach Johan Ackermann.
Coach Rassie Erasmus’ team have made their way to the final by playing a very one-dimensional, forward-orientated kicking game and Ackermann has stressed the importance of a Plan B should their intended tactics not come off.
“Do we have another strategy which we can go to in the 30th minute, at half-time or after 60 minutes? Do we have a Plan B if we experience something differently?” the former Springbok lock, who has also been earmarked as a future Bok coach, asked.
“The Boks will have to come up with answers if they don’t get their maul going or if our replacement reserve front row don’t make their usual impact to force three or four penalties.
“I would like to believe Rassie has a plan for England that could catch them off-guard,” he said. “Rassie and his management can be very proud of what they have achieved over the last two years, regardless of the result. They made South Africa proud and got the supporters behind the team again.”
Ackermann, whose club Gloucester face England’s star Vunipola brothers – Mako at tighthead and Billy at No 8 – as well as big lock Maro Itoje on a regular basis, says it will be interesting to see how the Roses can cope with the resilient pressure the Boks will try and put them under.
“England have done well in the tournament, especially in the semifinals against the All Blacks. I think the Boks were a bit nervous in their semi because it’s so close but so far, but this weekend they have everything to play for and they can take more risks.
“The Boks defence against Wales was superb. They know which areas they want to play and how they want to enforce their pattern,” he said.
“England are better than they have been a few months back when their coach Eddie Jones was under pressure when they didn’t perform in the Six Nations and everyone wanted to get rid of him.
“If I have to make a prediction for the final, I would say with my heart I believe SA will win.
“The Boks have the team, the pack of forwards and the players who can win finals. If it’s close, the Boks only need one big maul or scrum to pull it through.’’
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