Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Springboks target improved breakdown performance to spark attack — Tony Brown

A better showing at the breakdown will give the Boks the freedom to unleash their quality attack and put Ireland under more pressure.


Springbok attack coach Tony Brown says the team is targeting a better performance at the breakdown to give them a stronger base to attack from when they battle it out against Ireland in the second Test of the Incoming Series in Durban on Saturday.

The Boks clinched a 27-20 win in the opening Test at Loftus over the past weekend and now want to see out a series win on the coast, but they have plenty of areas to improve on, one of which was the breakdown where they struggled against the Irish.

Although Brown was happy with encouraging signs shown in Pretoria, he believes a better showing in that aspect of the game will give them the freedom to unleash their quality attack and put the visiting defence under more pressure.

“It was a really tough Test match (at Loftus). Both teams were going really hard at the breakdowns and there was a lot of messy rugby,” explained Brown.

“But the things we are trying to do on attack had some really good signs, especially in the first half when we created a lot of momentum with our width. The boys were able to apply a lot of pressure and score a pretty nice try early on.

“So it (the breakdown) is going to be fierce again (in Durban). Ireland have been traditionally strong at the breakdown defensively. So from an attacking point of view we have to be better. The better ball we get the better we can attack.

“Ireland obviously wants to slow that down and disrupt our breakdown which disrupts our attack. So we have to make sure that our breakdown is quality, that our ball carries are quality and then we can attack with some quality.”

Wide channels

One of the new things picked up in the past weekend’s game was the Boks deploying flanks Pieter-Steph du Toit and captain Siya Kolisi in the wider channels where they impressed with some big runs and Brown admitted that we can expect more of that this coming weekend.

“The South African team has got some outstanding loose forwards and it’s not a new or different tactic. Other teams use the same tactic and it’s about trying to get the best out of the players that we deploy there,” said Brown.

“Pieter-Steph and Siya have got amazing skill sets. They are big players and are pretty dynamic with the ball in hand. So it is about giving them the license and freedom to do what they do well and then the rest of the team complimenting that.”

There is a bit of familiarity for Brown in returning to Durban, where he played for a season for the Sharks, in the late 2000s, before moving down to Cape Town with the Stormers for a season as well.

“I loved my time here. I enjoyed both teams immensely. Coming back to Durban does feel a little bit like coming back home and I will hopefully catch up with a few people in the week,” said Brown.

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