Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Boks have plenty work to do before second Irish Test — Pieter-Steph du Toit

Everything is now set up for a thrilling clash in the second and final Test at Kings Park this coming Saturday.


The Springboks will this week be focusing a lot of their attention on the breakdown battle as well as the basic mistakes they made during their 27-20 win over Ireland in their opening match of the Incoming Series at Loftus over the past weekend.

Although the Boks got the result they were looking for on Saturday and, in the process, broke a three-game losing streak against the Irish that stretched back to their last win on home soil in 2016, they were pushed the whole way and could have lost if a decision or two hadn’t gone in their favour.

An aspect of their game that they struggled with was at the breakdown, where the Irish managed to spoil their ball and put scrumhalf Faf de Klerk under immense pressure, which impacted his service to the team.

Second Test

The Boks will thus be making that a big focus point over the coming week in the build-up to the second Test in Durban, with flank Pieter-Steph du Toit admitting that area, along with their mistakes, would be looked at in detail.

“That battle (the breakdown) was big. There were times that they had the upper hand in that area, so it’s definitely one of the areas we’ll focus on this week,” explained Du Toit.

“We made a lot of mistakes, and we must correct that going into the next match. We’ll have a good look at this match and start working hard again on Monday, so we are ready for the next game.”

A major part of the Springboks success since the current management group took charge in 2018 is the team buying into whatever plan is used and that was as evident as ever when the entire ‘Bomb Squad’ of six forwards was thrown on in the 50th minute.

Telling contribution

Although they didn’t have immediate success, they eventually made the telling contribution late in the game when a huge scrum smashed the Irish pack back over their own tryline, leading to a penalty try that sealed the win.

“The thing about this team is we always buy in to what is happening. We believe in the plan and the system. That is what has contributed to the success of this team and campaign over the last few years,” said Du Toit.

“At halftime Rassie (Erasmus) said he was itching to put six guys on at the same time and we just agreed to the plan. There is a strategy and plan behind it, and this time it worked for us. It can definitely go against us as well.”

Everything is now set up for a thrilling clash in the second and final Test at Kings Park this coming Saturday where the Boks will be targeting a series win, while Ireland will be hoping to level things up.

“It’s always tough facing Ireland. They are a good team and facing them is always a good challenge. It is nice to play against them in South Africa and there is a great vibe within the team and at the stadium,” said Du Toit.

“But we now need to turn our focus to the next game because our goal is to win both matches against them.”

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