Japan beat the Springboks last night and rugby mad SA will be searching for an explanation. In this post we take a look at a couple of possibilities.
I haven’t been on any social media channels since the defeat – I can’t bear the thought of the opinions and ire of thought leaders and the general public alike adding to my misery.
I believe there are 5 areas the Springboks went wrong in the build up to and during the game that lead to the result – check them out below.
1) We underestimated them.
Heyneke Meyer said in the build up to the first game that they were already thinking about the quarter finals and in doing that – probably did not for one second concern themselves with the possibility that Japan were a threat.
What a giant mistake.
For all his flaws, that is one thing that Allister Coetzee did well in my opinion – he always encouraged his team to take things game by game. Obviously the big picture is important but unless you tackle every team individually you might lose to a Japan. It happened against Argentina earlier this year and you’d have thought we’d have learnt our lesson. Alas.
2) We were outsmarted.
Eddie Jones almost wore a face of disbelief at the final whistle – like he knew he had a good plan but he couldn’t believe that it worked for 80 minutes. The reason this happened is probably due to point 1 above. If we were focused on Japan, studied them and studied him – we might’ve avoided this rugby disaster.
The one silver lining here is that Jones is rumoured to be on his way to Cape Town to coach the Stormers.
3) We were inflexible. Again.
In my opinion, SA is probably the least adaptable rugby team on the planet. We come up with a game plan and arrogantly assume that it’s going to be good enough to beat the opposition – to such an extent that we don’t come up with a plan 2.0.
Why is it that when we we get on the wrong side of a referee – we don’t adapt? We keep doing the same things over and over and over and over again and then expect different results. Look at McCaw – he is just sublime at managing the ref – our next captain NEEDS to do this VERY well.
4) We got it wrong with our starting XV
This, again, comes back to homework – if we knew more about Japan we might’ve been better equipped to beat them well.
We chose the most experienced starting 15 ever and yet we lost.
We really needed big ball carriers to break tackles and look for offloads and while Alberts pulled out at the 11th hour – why did we pick PStD to play at flank when we had Kolisi on the bench? Burger tried hard but we really missed Vermeulen and Alberts in the forwards and guys like DdA in the backline. Jean De Villiers was diabolical – that first phase try they scored against us was all his fault.
5) We fell behind
It doesn’t matter who you play – if you start to fall behind – in time flat you could find yourself in trouble. Against a team like Japan you have to keep the score board ticking over and in the process knock the wind out of their sails.
This is where the ref played a massive role in that every time we scored a try – they scored two penalties.
Any minnow team will fight tooth and nail to still be in the game around the 60 minute mark – going forward we have to make sure that that is not the case.
There you have it – 4 possible explanations for why we went down against lowly Japan. What’s your thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Good – hit us with a tweet or a comment below.
Either way, all we can hope for now is that we turn things around from here – win the rest of our pool games and win them well and in that way we build some momentum. Perhaps this might turn out being a blessing in disguise in that we if we do make it to the semis – we’ll now avoid New Zealand.