The Springboks game plan is about as old as the green and gold itself. Intimidate the opposition at the set pieces, boss them at the collisions and make them pay with accuracy.
The strategy is a no brainer – especially when you consider the anatomical superiority that a large percentage of South Africans are born with.
And this plan has worked for us in the past.
But are we prepared for those rare occasions when someone is beating us at our own game? What do we do when a hungry Leprechaun is hell bent on dining on Springbok Carpaccio? Do we have a plan B that we can seamlessly shift into on the field? I believe the answer is, and always has been, no.
I believe, that two factors are fundamental to a good, modern rugby team: planning (the game plan) and execution (the players).
On the player side of things the talent available in South Africa is undeniable – it’s practically coming out of our ears. We seem to have a never-ending supply of youngsters just itching to get a shot, and this should ensure that we’re always competitive as a nation.
From a game plan point of view we’re in a good spot too. We’re still anatomically superior to opposition and as such, our game plan is still relevant.
We have both factors going for us, so say it with me: “it’s great to be a Springbok supporter.”
That said, there is a third secret factor in there. It’s something small, something that doesn’t need to be used often – but when the need does arise it’s usually the difference between winning and losing. It’s something that I believe could’ve helped us against Ireland on Saturday. It’s called flexibility.
Flexibility breeds a Plan B. It’s the pick and drive instead of the box kick; it’s the one off runner rather than the backline ball; it’s the small changes you can make to the game plan to beat back the opposition and rescue the victory – something that could’ve been salvaged at Aviva Park despite the abject beating.
At times it seems to me that all South Africa teams arrogantly defend their game plan, persisting with the same approach, hoping for a different result. It’s insanity.
So with the World Cup fast approaching, let’s hope the Springboks adopt a degree of flexibility so that we can quickly and painlessly overcome any speed bumps along the way to glory.
What are your thoughts? Which World Rugby team is the most flexible in your opinion?