‘Du Preez overkicked at World Cup’

Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell says the Springboks revolved too much of their game around Fourie du Preez.

The 33-year-old scrumhalf was selected for the Bok World Cup squad despite not having played Test rugby for more than a year due to injury.

Du Preez came off the bench against Japan, and then started every match until sustaining a cheekbone injury in the semi-final against the All Blacks, which ruled him out of the third-place play-off.

While many said the Boks' hopes of winning the World Cup depended on Du Preez, Mitchell believes he may have been overused.

'I think in many ways Heyneke [Meyer] and the coaching group tactically overplayed the abilities of Fourie du Preez,' said Mitchell on Boots & All on Thursday.  'He is a wonderful footballer and has been for a long time. But he overkicks and also turns some fast ball into slow ball.

'As good a passer as he is, he was always looking for an option, whether to kick or to hit a forward off nine … and that’s before the ball gets to [Handré] Pollard at No 10. Too much has been centred around his decision-making.'

Mitchell added that there appeared to be an acceptance of mediocrity in the Bok camp.

'The success rate of the Boks is at 50% at the moment [in 2015]. That’s not good enough. An 80-85% rate is where South Africa have to start targeting again.

'The only way you are going to do that is by producing a style of football that will provide three or four tries a game and still have the ability to defend, but you have to develop during a four-year period.'

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Post by

Simon Borchardt