Boks defend backfiring game plan

Ricardo Loubscher says the Springboks’ issues are minor and that the team will aim to score more tries at this World Cup, reports JON CARDINELLI in Birmingham.

The Boks scored four tries against Japan in Brighton this past Saturday. And yet they still slumped to an embarrassing 34-32 defeat.

The result marked the Boks' fourth loss in five Tests this season. An attempt to play an overly expansive brand of rugby led to three consecutive losses in the Rugby Championship, and most recently to the defeat in the World Cup opener.

When the Boks reverted to a more traditional game plan that prioritised physicality and territory, they beat Argentina in Buenos Aires convincingly. Most would have expected the Boks to stick with that formula for the duration of the World Cup, given the nature of the matches as well as the conditions in the northern hemisphere.

Unfortunately, they have done exactly the opposite. And despite the loss to Japan, they look set to continue with their present game plan against Samoa at Villa Park on Saturday.

‘We want to score tries,’ backline coach Ricardo Loubscher said on Monday. ‘It’s all about identifying opportunities and then finishing off.

‘The performance against Japan was disappointing, but we all back the plan. It’s just a case of making small adjustments ahead of the game against Samoa. It would be counterproductive to make big changes to the plan now.’

The Boks made 138 carries, 171 passes and a total of 451m against Japan. They scored four tries, but two of those were via the lineout maul.

Their failure to adapt to referee Jérôme Garcès’s interpretation of the breakdown laws also cost them dearly. The Boks conceded 12 penalties in total, many of them at crucial moments of the match.

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

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Jon Cardinelli