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Boks wary of Kiwis’ squeeze tactics

  • 02 Oct 2013
All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden has an excellent kicking game All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden has an excellent kicking game

The Springboks won't realise their four-try objective at Ellis Park unless they win the tactical-kicking battle, reports JON CARDINELLI in Johannesburg.

On Wednesday, Bryan Habana laughed when it was suggested that the All Blacks were an all-out attacking side. The All Blacks' success is down to the efficiency of their defence, as well as the accuracy of their kicking game.

In 2009, it was the Boks who prevailed via a pressure defence and an accurate kick-chase strategy. Four years on, the All Blacks are the best tactical side in the world. Their ability to dominate the tactical-kicking exchanges and maintain high defensive standards has put pressure on opponents, and that pressure has often led to counter-attacking chances.

'They're not No 1 for nothing, they're not the world champions because they're palookas,' said Habana. 'Perhaps the perception of them is incorrect, because it's not that they are overly attacking, but that they have a great "suffocate and strangle" policy.

'They have a great kicking game and look to get out of their half. Out of the 124 balls they've had in their own half [in this year's Castle Rugby Championship], they've only run five times.

'What they are fantastic at doing is counter-attacking from opposition mistakes. And when they are in the opponents' half and they have an opportunity, they are very good at making those chances tell.

'We have to make sure that we put the All Blacks under pressure and play in the right areas of the field,' Habana said. '[All Blacks flyhalf] Aaron Cruden and [fullback] Israel Dagg have fantastic kicking games, and they are going to try and move us around the park.

'It's going to be a tactical game. We will have to be at our best.'

The Boks will need to win Saturday's contest and secure a four-try bonus point to win the Rugby Championship. On Wednesday, Meyer conceded it is a tough ask, considering the quality of the All Blacks defence.

New Zealand have not leaked four tries in a Test since they played the Wallabies in Hong Kong in 2010. They have conceded just seven tries in the eight Tests played in 2013.

'It's very difficult to score tries against the All Blacks. They've got a great running game, but what makes them so effective is their kicking game.

'They out-kicked us last year at Soccer City [where a Dan Carter tactical masterclass helped the All Blacks to a resounding 32-16 win]. So to beat the All Blacks, and before you even start think about scoring tries, you have to match their kicking game. Obviously we want to score tries, but you have to have the basics right.'

Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung Getty Images

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