Results are not the most important but don’t let that lead to you to thinking getting heavily beaten every week is ok.
Development is most important but that requires reps of match actions, appropriate challenges & fun. It’s like matching a young boxer, it needs to be a fair fight! It’s a quote I saw recently on the internet.
Springbok fans, like Manchester United fans deserve their recent slump in form or quality.
Having stayed up to watch the Springboks yesterday in what was a very interesting game of footy – were they lost to Wales for a third successive game.
While many found it to be dry and boring (You want entertainment? Go to the cinema or circus) – a few lessons can be extracted from that game. Some form of perspective.
How many of you can say they have been riding a bicycle for years and can then seamlessly get into a Tour de France and be very good at it? (Probably a bad example hey?) My point is, it was a Test debut for 13 players yesterday and despite an experienced spine – we can see what approach Rassie Erasmus and the Springboks wanted to use yesterday. The Test match was lost but there was depth created.
Defensively the Springboks applied a lot of pressure through the rush defense and in most instances, it looked very good. The Welsh played a set play with a chip in behind and it was well covered by Ivan van Zyl, a try was scored last year by the Welsh.
There were a lot of knock ons’ due to the amount of pressure from the defensive line and the pressure to close from the outside – in.
A bunch of players who had never played together managed to put in a lot of good and some bad on their Test debuts. A stark improvement in the high ball assault was seen yesterday in comparison to the End of year tour in 2017.
The kicking game was quite something! Elton and Ivan’s kicking wasn’t perfect but it was great in most cases with Makazole Mapimpi’s chasing another reason to be excited about.
It was also the first time both Springbok wingers scored in same test since the win over Argentina in August last year – eight games ago. Perfecting and executing this kicking game will be paramount to the Springbok rise again. These will be lessons the players will learn in playing at this level and why the Washington test was good for them.
The Set-piece was quite impressive with Chilliboy Ralepelle providing necessary aggression at the breakdown and set-piece security.
Replacement Marvin Orie’s lineout defense was exceptional – scooped two of the Welsh’s throws and this leaves us a bit clearer on the overall approach. Managing to pin the opposition in their half and apply pressure on their set piece.
The second half saw a rejuvenated Bok scrum with a monstrous shove from the pack on several times. Akker van der Merwe, Steven Kitsoff and Thomas du Toit playing a vital role in this.
Lapses in concentration and depth resulted in basic errors often but that was a splendid opportunity for 13 new caps to play Test rugby and learn several lessons for the next time South Africa calls on them.
In the arena, taking points will also be a lesson they will take going forward. Scoreboard pressure is a vital aspect of Test rugby.
It was disjointed at times, it was sloppy and to be fair some unwatchable moments with poor camera work on display but so much to take from this game ahead of the England series that will be far more brutal.