When we were growing up learning our various sports there were some basic things just drummed into you. These things that the coaches used to hound us for seems to be lacking when we watch the so called professional sportsmen today. Most of these things should be second nature and it helps you read the game.
At the weekend the Springboks drew with the All Blacks which was a shock result in itself. There were a couple of things that I noticed that could have made a difference. I find it frustrating when you see this type of thing as it shows you the player isn't switched on to what is happening.
The All Blacks don't have a great kicker these days and it is a 50/50 whether he slots them or not. It was frustrating to watch the Springbok wing chasing the All Black wing knowing he was too slow and the only thing he could do was cut down the angle for the conversion. The try was a given but he could have forced him to score 10 meters closer to the touchline than what he did. he followed straight behind him and should have been cutting the angle down instead. The result was a conversion which Beauden Barrett slotted from 15 meters out instead of an extra 10 meters on the angle.
Defending is something you learn at junior school and you always leave the inside player for others covering and go for the man outside your shoulder. This cuts down on the space and then everyone knows who is marking who. Time and again you see the defender going for the inside man and leaving room for the attacking team to capitalize. This was a vast improvement on previous games and given the attacking opportunities they had in the first half the Springboks should have won. Instead they went in to half time 7-6 down.
Even though this was a good result for them away from home in New Zealand they still look weak and don't see them as contenders for the World Cup. There are too many players that are average and not of international standard. They prefer to kick the ball instead of keeping it in their hands and with players lacking the flair or x factor they will struggle. The game proved it at the weekend as the Springboks never looked like scoring yet they had opportunities that were squandered.
The coach knows what he is doing and I am happy to see Rassie Erasmus in charge and they have reluctantly gotten rid of the clowns before him. His hands are tied behind his back though as political interference is all over the squad. Making the quarter finals this year should be seen as a good result and anything after that as a bonus. It is still early days and will do a round up for the Rugby World Cup closer to the time.