Home Incoming Tours CAMPO: Boks go for combinations and a simple game plan

CAMPO: Boks go for combinations and a simple game plan


I was at the Springboks training session the other day, after their first squad for the year had been named, and it was interesting to get a first hand perpective on the tactics the team will take into the English Tests.

The verdict – precise kicking from 9 and 10.

By , 6 Jun 2012

Jean De Villiers of the Springboks is brought down by Jamie Roberts of Wales. AFP PHOTO / Marty Melville

From what I could determine, it looks like kicking will play a big part in the game plan, which fits in with the type of team that new coach Heyneke Meyer has selected (Blue bulls style).

He has clearly picked a team that he knows will play the simple style that he wants to play. It’s a team rich in talent and experience, which is important as he must win in the eyes of all South Africans.

Sure, there’s been a lot of people in South Africa complaining about the squad, and the omission of flanker Heinrich Brussow in particular. And to be fair, a number of Stormers players who have been playing well haven’t been picked.

But Heyneke knows the world will be watching, and playing England at home, he knows winning is the first and foremost priority.

Yesterday, we saw the Wallabies lose (again) to Scotland.

It seems to me, the problem was that the Australian team had no combinations in the centres and at 8-9-10.

You need combinations at this level of rugby. You can’t just pick a bunch of talented individuals and expect them to do the job.

I am sure some will use the weather as an excuse but, sorry, not good enough. This is the ultimate level of rugby and there are no excuses.

In the past, the most successful teams have had great combinations in key positions: Farr-Jones/Ella, Farr-Jones/Lynagh, Hawker/O’Connor, Nonu/Smith, van der Westhuizen/Stransky, Gregan/Larkham, to name a few.

What is concerning me is the move towards creating all-round players and doing away with specialist players, which affects the team and the combinations.

Communicating and understanding each other comes through playing together consistently, which does not happen nowadays. Some would argue that Australia has not produced a successful combination at 10/12/13 since Horan and Little, some 12 years ago.

The Springboks under 20 team played against Ireland the other day.

Ireland controlled the game and the Boks combinations didn’t click into gear. They had a few opportunities to win but combinations and confidence let them down.

At one point near the death, they had a lineout four meters out from the Irish line and lost the ball and the match as a result.

You must stay composed and stick to the basics.

This is what happens when you get together as a new team, without any significant combinations in place.

Look at the Reds this season. Genia has struggled this year because, for much of it, he hasn’t had Cooper alongside of him in the backline. The more great players you have, the more pressure you put on the opposition.

But an even bigger problem in Australia is that we lack combinations in the centers, as we saw in the RWC2011.

Wouldn’t it be great to see a Horan/Little combo again? Stop the opposition and give the outside backs a chance to show how good they are.

Having watched the Springboks backline at training, you could see that it is a backline that has played together and will understand each other under pressure.

Meyer has entered his debut series with an understanding that he needs to pick combinations in key positions to be in with a show of winning.

At this level of rugby, you can’t keep chopping and changing. That’s when things fall apart.

Against England, the Springboks are playing the enemy. There is a lot of pride there. They simply have to win. And I think this squad can do it.

Check out a bbumper weekend of rugby ahead, with the All Blacks vs Ireland and Australia vs Wales. I know what I will be doing.


  1. but where I have to agree is – Against England, the Springboks are playing the enemy. There is a lot of pride there. They simply have to win. And I think this squad can do it.

    We better f***ing win!

  2. David Campese – the “Messerschmitt-Willie” of his day backs Springboks over Visitors surely inspired by the Diamond Jubilee back home in dreary England.

    Can’t wait.

  3. Positive for SA

    You need clicked combinations

    The old firm De Villiers / Fourie
    Du Preez Steyn
    Habana / Pietersen / Montgomery
    Carter / Nonu / Smith
    Genia / Cooper


    What I like is that Meyer is apparently concentrating on one thing only.

    Win every game the Boks play.

    In summary

    No matter how they do it one cannot ask for a coach to do more than that.

    Oh I wonder where Deon and Bryce are today seeing as apparently Wallaby rugby is not in trouble…

    Second consecutive test loss to Scotland… and this one at home…


    Everything in Aussie rugby is hunky dory… hundreds of new players, two new franchises of Super Rugby…

    Smile and Wave… at the seagulls sitting on the ice berg next to the Titanic…

  4. Reply to DavidS @ 9:26 am:

    What I like is that Meyer is apparently concentrating on one thing only.
    Win every game the Boks play.

    agree but also opens him up for abuse if he loses a game… but at least none of this “judge me in 4 years BS” :wave:

  5. Reply to DavidS @ 9:26 am:

    Anyone’s game that in gale-force and blizzard conditions… kudos to the Scots for not giving away too many PK’s… Wallaby ‘A’ side was shocking…

  6. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:35 am:

    Highlight for me was the post match celebrations… two Scotsmen jumping up on top of their team-mates and smashing heads… both requiring stitches… :bangheadt:

  7. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:35 am:

    watched the game last night – reminded me of how the Irish U20 side beat the babyboks! They defended well and flooded the breakdown with bodies to slowdown/disrupt the ball for the Aussies.
    Not many Aussies running onto the ball and when the Scots had the ball the Aussies gave them the ruck, hardly competed for it which played into their hands.

  8. Just a question – has Frans Steyn and JDV ever played as a centre combo?

  9. You see, having all these creative intelligent running the snot out of you backline and loose forwards geniuses count for nothing when your opponent with a simple conservative game plan forces you to play to their game plan. If you want to play champagne rugby you need an opponent stupid enough to play to your strengths… which is what Shieldsie wants the Boks to do… or what Harry Viljoen wanted the 2000 / 2001 Boks to do… play like the Brumbies…

    Rather stick with your strengths, force it onto the opposition and make them try to match you…

  10. Reply to DavidS @ 9:47 am:

    when we are bigger, stronger then ok do that but when the opposition match you – what then? What is your plan B? That is my biggest problem with the way SA play. It is stampkar rugby or kicking but no other plans hence the 60% win ratio instead of the 80% which I think we are capable of.

  11. With a week to prepare (make it 3 training sessions) you need combinations and experience.

    Seems logical doesn’t it?

  12. Reply to DavidS @ 9:47 am: what are the strenghts and who made it up that its 10 man rugby.

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 9:56 am: agreed
    Who are we fooling oursleves: Look at the Bulls highlanders game. The Bulls bought their strenghts and failed as the opposition were bigger and were smarter. No plan B

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 9:27 am: awesome thanks mate. not tv so on-line it is.

    We know, the opposition knows what the game plan is going to be? Engalnd are going to be tough but I do hope we snot the mutha’s. I hate losing to them the most of all teams.

    Lets hope HM has surprises up his sleeve.

  13. Reply to Morné @ 10:08 am: So from a lineout combination point of view, would Chilly not be the better than choice than Bismarck then? Or would the scrum combo hold more sway than the lineout combo?

  14. Reply to Bokhoring @ 9:46 am:
    Yes they have on:
    13 November 2010 vs Wales, JdV at 12 and FS at 13
    20 November 2010 vs Scotland, JdV at 12 and FS at 13
    27 Novemebr 2010 vs England, JdV at 12 and FS at 13

  15. Reply to Bokhoring @ 10:26 am:

    Line out combo (locks, 3 loosie jumpers and hooker) will be different no matter who you choose to start. The challenge for Chili gelling with them will be the same is it will be for Bismarck, and yes, the all Sharks front-row combo does imo play a part to sway it Bismarck’s way.

  16. Reply to Morné @ 10:49 am:

    Chilli combines with Juandre, Flip and Spies. (Jumpers)
    Bismark combines with JdP (lifter), Beast (Lifter), Coetzee (jumper)

    Question is wh will be the 3rd loosie? Probably Alberts!? Combo with Bismark.

  17. I think if we are looking at Marcell and Spies, we need one bruiser there to up the physicality and then it must be Alberts

  18. Reply to biltongbek @ 11:23 am:

    Team will probably look like this:

    Interested to see how close that will be? 14/15 maybe with Zane getting the nod?

  19. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:25 am: I had my selection exactly like that on an article I did for another website, but have since read that Zane is most likely to get the nod over LAmbie.

    My bench was:
    Werner Kruger

  20. fair enough,

    Meyer has no time to be anything BUT pragmatic.

    But i dont want to be fed this bullshit every game. Whats the use we win most games playing kak dreary rugby yet STILL lose to NZ when it matters?

    I want to see us play a game which can beat the best at any day and after you beat them, dominate them.

    Like we should have done in 2010.

    Instead we were happy to just ‘play to our strengths’ not knowing that the opposition has figured us out and by 2010 we lost even though we played the same tactics.

    You need to have ballas and be creative in your strategy and this needs to adapt.

    I give heyneke full support and benefit of doubt currently. He has shown himself to be a multidimensional strategist and he can adapt. But if he chooses Bok rugby to now go build a laager then I will be his fiercest critic.

  21. Reply to The Year of the Cheetah @ 11:51 am: I am with you on every point you made there.

    Meyer has been touted as the guy that can take SA rugby to the top, and I would like to beleive he can.

    The decision is simple, do we want to continue being a top three nation? Then keep the status quo and retain thing sas they are, work on executing the gameplan and realise against top teams you will have your off days where execution fails and the lack of a plan B will get you unstuck.

    If you want to be at the top, then you need to add to your plan A, keep your executio levels high but have a plan B you know will produce results when required. The reality is that plan B must be used in every game so that the players who have to execute plan B is comfortable with it and have seen it work on numerous occassions. Success in executing plan B on a regular basis instills belief in the alternatvie plan.

    I am not saying move away from what works, but add to it a certain amount of unpredictability which will help you in those games against the top teams

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