Why Boks can’t beat All Blacks

December 11, 2013
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Five reasons why the Springboks can’t seem to shake their All Blacks hoodoo.
By: Dominic Valentine
1. Discipline

The Springboks picked up an astonishing 10 yellow cards in 12 games in 2013.

The traditional strength of the Springboks is the physicality of their game and whilst no one expects them to take a step back in this regard, they need to match their physical game with guile and decision-making aptitude and the canny ability to adapt to the referee or the situation.

A yellow card can often change the course of a game and it is these small facets where the Springboks can hope to gain ground on the All Blacks.

The Boks need to improve their discipline. (Gallo Images)

2. Depth

The Springboks in 2013 have improved their squad with the addition of some very exciting players this season with Willie le Roux the biggest success story of the season.


But question marks remain over the Springboks’ depth, especially in four key positions: scrumhalf, tighthead prop, openside flank and lineout lock.

A key difference between the All Blacks and the Springboks is how the All Blacks can field a second-string team and still win in pressure situations and it would be nice to see Heyneke Meyer build a squad instead of just picking the best team available and only dealing with depth if and when an injury happens.

Who is SA’s second-best ‘fetcher’ after Francois Louw? (Gallo Images)

3. Man-Management



The All Blacks’ central contracting allowed them to rest key players during the 2013 Super Rugby season.

Captain Richie McCaw was rested during the 2013 Super Rugby season, similarly, Dan Carter will be rested in 2014.

There is a persistence in SA both at franchise and national level to play the best XV until suspension or injury intervenes and forces change.

Injuries to Jannie du Plessis and Eben Etzebeth during the current season are prime examples of players being played into the ground.

Despite key All Blacks being given proper rest periods during Super Rugby and their workload being limited, a New Zealand team, the Chiefs, still won the competition, proving that a team can practice player rotation and still win.

New Zealand take care of their best players. (Gallo Images)

4. Know thine enemy

In 2009, the All Blacks failed to beat the Springboks in three attempts.

The Springboks had managed to beat them based on a superior tactical kicking game, the rolling maul and by bullying them at the lineout.

The All Blacks held a national coaching summit to determine how they could improve in these key aspects of their game and the Springboks have failed to dominate them ever since.

Despite being the best team in the world the All Blacks have not been complacent and continue to improve.




Areas of play the Springboks struggled with against the All Blacks in 2013: securing their own lineout ball, fielding restarts, and competing under the high ball, areas they must show a marked improvement in if they are to defeat the All Blacks.

Heyneke Meyer must address the Boks’ weaknesses. (Gallo Images)

5. Fear factor

The Springboks need to overcome their inferiority complex against the All Blacks. The truth is out of Heyneke Meyer’s four matches in charge of the Springboks against the All Blacks, only one match (Soweto in 2012 where the Boks lost 32-16) has been a one-sided affair, all the other matches between the two teams were matches that the Boks were in a position to win – but failed to take their chances.

England’s 38-21 victory over the All Blacks in 2012, and narrow victories over France and Ireland in 2013, proved that this All Blacks team is not invincible, despite their unbeaten record in 2013.

But the Springboks must overcome their mental hoodoo against the All Blacks in 2014 if they don’t want to cede a significant psychological advantage to the All Blacks heading into a Rugby World Cup year in 2015.

The Boks need to overcome their fear of the All Blacks. (Gallo Images)

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  1. avatar Timeo says:
    December 11th, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Good piece.

    Addressing these points will certainly get the Boks closer but not equal to the All Blacks. National talent depth (point 2) is the key difference and it is not something that can be resolved in the short term and certainly not by any Bok coach.

    The Chiefs winning SR is prove of New Zealand’s superior talent depth (point 2) and was rather, “in spite of” and not “because of” their man management strategy (point 3).

  2. avatar Timeo says:
    December 11th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    In spite of their man management and resting of Dan Carter he had spent most of the last 3 seasons on the injury list, whereas Morne Steyn had played continuously and had stayed almost completely injury free.

  3. avatar DavidS says:
    December 11th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    The last one is an issue that arose only in the post isolation eriod and must be ascribed to English speaking fans and players who have always had an inbuilt inferiority complex and fellating belief of the superiority of anything “forren” including the belief that the All Blacks and Australia and England and France are better than us…

    Although not an Engelsman but more or less a slavish follower of such disjointed Stheffriccun culture Brendon on our site is a prime example of this viewpoint.

  4. avatar biltongbek says:
    December 11th, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I will agree to 2, 3 and 4.

    Discipline is Bs, we copped a number of cards that were very, very soft.

    Inferiority complex my arse.

  5. avatar Duiwel says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 1:31 am

    -trying to Donner almal
    As opposed to playing the ball.
    slowing the ball down

    We need a back line.
    Fly half two centers
    And one wing

    All of them with basic balls kills.

    That’s a start

  6. avatar Americano says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 5:59 am

    The depth thing seems to be spot on – which may be an indictment of selection over coaching?

    Maybe they are one in the same how Messerschmitt-Willie got exiled to Boland/Griquas and wherever in between ( Swaziland?) was probably due to how his physical stats showed on an excel spreadsheet.

    Needs to be more of a nose for vision/intangibles/distribution.

    For SA to be lacking in rugby depth is like being in Abu Dhabi where every sheik you run into is broke as a joke.
    Makes no sense.

  7. avatar Morne Nortier says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Discipline? The Boks conceded the least amount of penalties in the Rugby Championship.

  8. avatar Duiwel says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Not to worry Miertje
    They Bokke made up for it.

  9. avatar Morne Nortier says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    At the EOYT they were not too flash I agree, but this guy is comparing them to the All Blacks which means Rugby Championship

  10. avatar Duiwel says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    No too flash?

  11. avatar Morne Nortier says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Neither were the All Blacks on penalties conceded, but my point stands, compared to NZ there is nothing wrong with our discipline.

  12. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    December 14th, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Pick your world 22… tell me how many Japies are there and how many Kiwi’s… there you have it…

    Quantity vs quality…

  13. avatar Welshbok die Brandwag says:
    December 14th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I personally believe we had the NZ on the ropes when Bismark got stupidly yellow and red carded, we were a-NAAI-hilating them and they were cracking…. in NZ mind you!

    Had we moered them that day, Georgia would have had a bigger chance in taking the boks the next game in SA.

    The margins are small in test rugby, and even smaller between NZ and the Boks. This is not taking into account the synical way in which NZ mostly concede penalties (for only very few infringements) in the red zones, but NEVER concede yellows.

    In sorting out the KAK refs we’ve had in our tests in recent years, suddenly our problems diminish to small issues that can easily be addressed in the team.

  14. avatar cab says:
    December 14th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    1. Beast
    2. Bismark
    3. Franks
    4. Flip/Bakkies
    5. Etsebeth
    6. Cheater Mccaw
    7. Alberts
    8. Reid/Vermeulen (Even)

    9. NZ (but only cos Hougaard not there)
    10. Carter
    11. Habana
    12. Umaga/Jdv (even)
    13. Smith/Fourie (even)
    14. JP
    15. Jane/Willie (even)

    4/3 to Boks upfront
    2/2 to AB backs

    Boks got a better team imo

    @Welshbok die Brandwag:
    correct – we had those little buggers on the ropes before that dodgy froggy got involved, horrendous shit.

  15. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    December 15th, 2013 at 12:33 am


    Mate Umaga? Jane? What tests were you watching this year?

    Only Bismark, maybe Etsabeth (Retallick was huge this year and Romano/Whitelock are shades ahead of Flip) would make the pack… Messam much better than Alberts and nobody is near Read at 8 in world rugby…

    WLR better than Israel Dagg? Not on your nelly…

    JDV and Nonu are even… Conrad Smith has no peer at 13 in world rugby on current form… Ben Smith and Savea light-years ahead of JPP’s current form and Habs is equal with them…

    4 out 22… there’s your answer… and they can name another entire 22 in every position…

  16. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    December 15th, 2013 at 12:56 am


    4 out of 15 that is…

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