Stick: We wanted to play ‘Test rugby’

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says his Green team deliberately used kicking and forward power to win at Newlands on Saturday.

Springbok Green turned on Test-style rugby to come away with a 25-9 victory and bragging rights over Springbok Gold in the Springbok Showdown as South African rugby took another step back to full competitive play with a second, post lockdown run out.

The Green team was largely dominant at the scrum, while halfback pair Elton Jantjies and Sanele Nohamba put the Gold team under plenty of pressure under the high ball.

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Greens’ forward power and kicking game was a deliberate plan, said their coach Stick after the match.

‘We wanted to make it as close as possible to a Test match. We wanted to put pressure in the air and we didn’t want to give them time and space with ball in hand. We wanted to use our set piece and kicking game – that’s what the Springbok game is all about,’ added Stick.

The tactics led to three tries for the Green team – by Siya Kolisi, Juarno Augustus and a penalty try – although the primary objective was simply to get back onto the field in a Springbok environment.

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‘The reason for the game was to showcase the talent and also to build experience and share information between the senior players and the youngsters,’ said Deon Davids, coach of Springbok Gold.

‘The young players have been exposed to the Springbok environment and it was a wonderful week in our team – and it was from what I hear from team Green as well – with the senior players sharing their experience and offering guidance.

‘It was also a fantastic opportunity to look at the players’ ability in training and see where they are in terms of preparation and what is needed. It is very early in the ‘season’ – this was only the second game – and we’ll get more answers from hereon in.

‘We hope the players have learned some valuable lessons and will take those back in order to become better players.’

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Springbok captain Siya Kolisi also highlighted the value of the interaction with the large number of uncapped players among the 50-strong line-up – and additional ‘young guns’ who had spent the week with the teams.

‘It was really special for all of us and for me personally to see the young guys,” said Kolisi.

‘I wanted to make sure the guys felt welcome and spent some time sitting down with them. It was special to see them perform tonight.

‘We are in a good place as South African rugby with our talent, but we are a long way off in terms of fitness and match readiness from where we were at the World Cup.’

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images