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2984 Topic: Evolution of attacking game will take time

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Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 10:26:21

RYAN VREDE of keo, in Edinburgh, reports Springbok forwards coach and technical [removed]yst Johann van Graan says the evolution of their attacking game will take time and is dependent on a range of factors.

The Springboks’ attacking method has been widely lamented as being overly pragmatic and bordering on conservative. Their focus on gaining territory through tactical kicking has, however, reaped considerable reward. Their time spent in the opposition’s 22m compares favourably with the All Blacks, the difference being how clinical the world champions have been once there.

On Monday Heyneke Meyer lamented the ‘unacceptable’ return of tries considering their opportunities in what he described as the ‘goal zone’. ‘The top teams in the world get points when they get in there,’ he said. ‘It may be a coaching or inexperience thing, but it has to improve. We get in the right areas and we get clean ball, but we don’t convert.’

I’ve maintained that the the focus of the criticism of the Springboks has been wrong. How they get into the opposition’s 22m has been targeted, but what they do with possession while there is the real problem.

It would be remiss not to note the affect injuries, (particularly among the back division) have had on the team’s attacking potency. There has never been a settled combination, while three different flyhalves have started, with Elton Jantjies coming on as an early replacement at Soccer City.

However, how they resolve this deficiency should be a matter of great concern. They’ve desperately lacked imagination, flair, unpredictability and precision when shifting the ball wide. Van Graan, who is also involved in the attacking play, said they had a vision of a preferable outcome, but stressed that there are prerequisites for them to get there.

You don’t get the end result immediately, its a process. As soon as you get into a winning habit, combinations settle and you gain experience as a team, you can start evolving,’ he said. ‘There have been some massive moments in our game development, with Bryan Habana’s try in Soweto being a prime example of where we want to go with our game. But game development is about tweaking the small things and surprising the opposition like that.’

The Springboks have relied heavily on their rolling maul as an attacking weapon. However, denied the territory they covet against Ireland in the first half on Saturday, they looked impotent and rudderless. They recovered well and were able to hurt Ireland with their rolling maul. But Van Graan warned that this facet of play will come under stern examination against Scotland at Murrayfield once more.

It is a big part of the our game. Our base is so vital and the tight five work hard to keep that base up. Once it is then they can’t sack you. From there its technique and synergy. Its when we use it and where you use it,’ he said.

‘You also have to show respect to the opposition, most of the northern hemisphere teams stop the maul quite well by blocking off your middle and back options, and give you the front ball. They hit and sack you there. So you have to be clever and perhaps take a risk.’

He also noted the Scots’ focus on stifling the recycle at the breakdown. They succeeded in patches early in the game in this regard against the All Blacks, before the tourists stepped up their tackle fight and consistently got over the gainline to deny them a crack at the contest.

Van Graan continued, extolling their hosts’ other strengths.

They’ve shown that once they get into the 22m, it doesn’t matter how good the defence is, they can keep the ball. They did that quite well against the All Blacks. They’ve also got some big runners in the backline and their mauling and lineout is one of their big strengths. We’ll have to be clever in countering that,’ he noted.

Johann seems to have many resposibilities - foward coach, [removed]yst and attack coach.!!! 

Scotland will be a tough nut to crack given this dysfunctional backline, Their pack bettered the abs in my opinion. If they gain parity in the forwards - hope they wont - they will be hard to crack as we do not have a lot else to offer. Hopefully the backs will be better and the forwards will play 2 good halves and that should be enough to win.



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RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 11:05:46


The Van Graan's theories are right - but the application all mixed up.   Y-The All Blacks used their backline for effective rounding of purposes and for scoring of tries when in the opposition 22.   The Springboks rarely  use it a a means of scoring tries.    The play around the fringes all the time and then wondered why attacks are snuffed out.   Van Graan is both the forwards coach and the attacking coach - he may be the culptrit in this case and should deal wih that aspect - which he conpketely ignores in this case.

Insofar as finishing off by scoring tries is oncerned - there are in fact two problem ares.  Those are -

*   actual player strategy.   Most players want to run over opponents and thus kill backline play - the reult being another maul - and another maul - and another maul - until the Springboks utimately lose possession; coupled to

*    poor passing and ball-handling skills of players.

Who will ever forget that excellent try-scoring opportunity of the Springboks in the Dunedin test - when Kirchner gave a completely nonsensical pass to Habana.    The ball handling skills and off-loading skills of the present backline play ranges from atrocious to non-existent.    No wonder Meyer is unhappy about it. 

However, Meyer select players that has serious deficiencies in ball-handling and attacking skills and then expecct miracles from them.    Most of the backline players are deficient in passing balls to other attacking players and they have no real sense about the timing of passes - they pass either too early or too late.  None of the players involved can really work out the different time frames.

The following are really bad passers :-

   *   Kirchner - absolutely clueless

   *   De Vlliers - too often make inaccurate passes when playing at 13

   *   Francois Steyn - really poor passer with zero off-loading capacity;

   *   Morne Steyn - cannot read attacking moves properly and his passes are ill-timed.

Proper coaching would eliminate the problems - but neither Lounscher nor Van Graan has he capacity to  do that. 





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RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 11:16:09

We have for years relied mostly on individual brillaince. Howeve the fact is the Cheetahs scored, with an average side, a lot of tries at Super15 level. To my mind the better Super 15 sides would beat most international sides. This means that a backlin picked from the best payers in SA should be able to score tries.  We need to shape up in this regrad.

As I suggested speed up the loose trio - Deon Fourie, Vermuelen and Louw and we will not be as worried about going wide and getting turned. Bring in Jordaan and move Taute to15. Also one hopes Reinach blossoms in 2013. Then we should have a great backline.

Reinach, Lambie (They will hopefully develope as the sharks half back pair), Steyn, Jordaan. Habana, JP and Taute.  Surely, if well coached there is enough talent there to score tries!

LeaveGoosen another year out of the picture or playing camoes from the bench. Theguy is only under 21 next year and tha thas to be tak en into account no matter how brilliantly he plays - 201 4 bring him in.



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RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 13:28:18

a forwards coach commenting on attacking play = that in itself tells a tale of the bok problems.


we need international quality attacking specialists not some dirt tracker forwards coach

sasuke uchiha

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RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 17:30:22


the cheetahs were easily the most exciting SA spXV team, but ever since they were reintroduced back into super rugby, 2012 has been their most successful year,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,finishing 10th.
think of the cheetahs as the uss enterprise in start strek, they divert all powers into their phasers and torpodeos, but leave nothing to power up their shilelds, so a klionog with a poclet knife is able to beat them.

ive never seen the Boks adopt an attacking game, sure theres been some good attacking performances, but like the All Blacks losing, it happens fudge all and when it does it stops the presses.
its going to take a long time beofre the Boks get it right and by a long time i mean they wont get it right with meyer and co at the reigns.

also age isnt really the issue with goosen, its wether his body is capable of handling it, i just hope hes not using illegal substances to get over his injury this time round like he did in 2010, o_O,,,lol, :oP
but back to the topic at hand, carter, po[removed] were only 20 when they hit big time and set the world on fire and james (bieber) oconner was only 18, so age means nothing.
as classy as goosen is, i cant help but be reminded we might have another brussow, all class but too weak. brussow was impressive at his best, but his 17 tests in 5 years means he will be lost in the history books long after we are all dust and the memories of what he was trully capable of will be lost with us.


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RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 17:53:27

Their photon torpedoes Sasu.....nice [removed]ogy.

Muncher, as I pointed out in my largely ignored piece, you can't play running rugby with our current pack.....we need more skills, more mobility and more pace. Fans want the ball to be spread, but every time we got it beyond 12 against the Bargies, we were turned. Largely because our pack wasn't quick enough to the ball, and players like Mvovo in particular, weren't physical enough to protect the downed player.


Before you run better, you have to have the basics in place.....ball protection, structure, linking. A lot of this is down to the forwards.



Mike I'd also point out the Habana try cited as a benchmark, was largely created by Jean.


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RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 18:18:53


Don't want to be nasty - but if the referee was in a better position - that pass from De Villiers to Habana would have been blown up as a forward pass.   The TV clearly showed that.   Same with the pass from De Villiers to Lambie in the WC game against the Aussies.  A clear winning try was lost because of a mistimed forward pass.   I can also remember in the Pretoria test as well as the Dunedin test that De Villiers passed balls that was to the back of the wings - also mistimed passes,   

My contention remains - we need proper backline and attacking coaches - not the Van Graan and Loubscher types 


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RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 18:33:02

Mike I don't want to be obstinate.....but under the drift pass theory, the pass to Habana was fine. I will admit this is a grey area though.


With regard to the pass Jean threw at the RWC, after he had made the crucial break, I will say this. Jean had every right to expect that Fury would be on his shoulder in a conventional backline move like that. Fury got lost for pace and then fell over an Aussie. Lambie was the only option, but there was an Aussie player trying to get back, betwwen Jean and Lambie. Jean had a sliver of air space to send that pass through....and he did so superbly. He couldn't have directed it any further back. In any case the passer is not at fault in these situations unless he leads too much or hesitates. Jean did neither. He threw a pass right to the runner. Any more back and Lambie wouldn't have gathered the ball.


Was it forward? Certainly the ball was received ahead of the passer. But did it conform with the drift theory? I thought so at the time and so did the commentators before the call was made. Many of these "forward" passes were thrown in the recent 4N and not called.


But whether forward or not Jean did everything he could in that move, including the best break by a Bok back in the RWC....if  you want to look for a culprit, try Fury.


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RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 18:42:14 

Check it out, the Aussie defender was 2 feet behind Lambie on the inside at instant  the pass was made. Jean had to thread the needle, while being's incredible to me that people blame him for a very difficult pass and a close call, when he created the opportunity.


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Posts: 3292
RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 14, 2012, 19:14:28

Some more "accurate reporting". I would like a link where I can get any confirmation that Johann van Graan is in fact the Springbok Attacking coach. Even a link to confirm that there even is an attacking coach would help as well.


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RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 15, 2012, 08:32:30

Wecan speed up th pack without loosing much onphysicality. If we find in Du Toit another etzebeth type lock. The guy is also a big lad at 1118 k gand growing and has very good pace. And with biisie in the mix we couldhave an awesome tight five. Louw and Vermuelen are big loosies so there is room for a flyer like Coetzee or kan kan who did improve th isseasn as some have noted.

Its not a question of going bananas on attack but as was pointed out by Meyer we spend more time in the opponent 22 than any other side playing test rugby but we dont convert. So its uncomprimising forward power combined with good creativity and backline play an dsound defence and goal kicking. Anybody thinking we cant do a lot better regarding attack - eg saSUE - has no clue.

saSUE please understand these failures are temporary and will be resolved.  A fearsome thought saSUE I am sure you will agree. Hahhahaha

As for ou windpomp who is just majoring in minors again - clearly from the article Van Graan (who is he that he or Loubscher gets these positions?) has an involvement in attack.  meyer needs t oget in some top assistant coaches fast. I could well be wrong but werent these assistant coaches posts for a year - much like Jean being appointed captain for a year? 


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Posts: 12063
RE: Evolution of attacking game will take time
November 15, 2012, 08:35:43

Sorry saSUE but age has a lot to do with it nd of course there can be exceptions. However Goosen was under 20 this year and I thing tha tis too yoiung. How many under 20 players are playing test rugnby agains tthe top sides inworld rugby andthe most grueling competition in the world - the Super 15.

It takes time to harden up and some do need longer than others. In Nz they are sooft hit their straps at 30 - bwahahahahhahahahahahahahaha

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