Ahead of facing Wales tomorrow Van Graan said he didn’t think there was too much wrong in the lineouts, but admitted they did lose a few lineouts – three crucial lineouts, in the “red zone” five meters from the tryline.
“So we were disappointed with that, but that said we went for some ‘golden’ balls at the back of the lineout, there’s been quite a few things going on with the maul these past few weeks, and we tried to get back-ball, which is your best ball to get the drive going,” he said.
“But credit to Italy who managed to stop us there, very happy though with another Test win, knew beforehand Italy was going to be a tough Test match, but pretty happy that we ticked some boxes, and like I said two weeks ago – any win is a great win – but there’s always room for improvement.”
Van Graan lauded the scrums as a good effort, not only from the front row – Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss and Coenie Oosthuizen – but from the whole pack,
“I think we started the game well, there was some of the longest scrum sets that I have seen, the ball just lying in the middle of the scrum.
“The two packs really went for each other, but I think we talked well in the scrums, great team effort, and you can only focus on what you can do and live with the decisions that are made.”
Van Graan said credit should go to the entire pack who stood up well to a very good Italian scrum.
“Coenie scored that try and made 11 tackles, made some brilliant steals, and I don’t think if it has been picked up but teams are pulling away from the maul and they then go back, and then they ended up getting the penalty 30m out, so it’s small things that makes the difference.”
Van Graan said he thought there was a real battle and they committed some numbers, in terms of body height and responded well, while Italy managed to pull the scrumhalf into the ruck a few times.
“We can’t do anything about it but I thought we adapted well,” he said.
“After halftime we decided to send one or two more guys to the side of the ruck, and later I think we got very dangerous, just the last pass didn’t stick earlier between Pat Lambie and JP Pietersen, but very happy with the opportunities we did manage to create.”
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