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Auckland - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has hit out at critics who say that his team play a kick-and-chase game, stating that getting the ball from the back and running through the defence “will usually work in movies”.
The Boks tried to utilise their possession a bit better by carrying the ball more in the first half of the 26-19 defeat to the Wallabies in Perth, but there was still a lot of aimless kicking, especially from the back when Australia had not even chased their own kick.
Often the ball was fielded well outside the Bok 22, but the likes of Zane Kirchner, Morné Steyn and Ruan Pienaar were all guilty at stages of using the boot rather than looking for a teammate or taking on the defence themselves.
If they do that against the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday, the Boks will have to try and stop such devastating runners like Israel Dagg, Cory Jane and Kieran Read.
But Meyer looked irritated yesterday when told that the Bok gameplan could be described as a “kick-and-chase” approach.
“I just want to put it into perspective - there has been criticism from people back home that it’s a kick-and-chase game, and that it’s all about the defence. I know people want you to get the ball at the back and run through the defence, but that will usually work in the movies. It doesn’t work at this level anymore,” he barked.
“What’s actually strange is that when Argentina played us, people said that it was a kick-and-chase game, but Argentina actually kicked more than us. Australia kicked more than we did again at the weekend, and people are saying we should play that game. The fact is that if there is nothing on and you can’t counter from the back, then you have to kick accurately.
“The thing about New Zealand is that if you don’t kick accurately, they will punish you with seven points every time. They are the one team where the whole backline are game-breakers. If you don’t put pressure on the kick, they can move the ball into space and will punish you.
“If you do want to kick, and there’s space to kick, then your contesting in the air has to be 100 percent. If you give them space and ball on the front foot, they can punish you. Our chase-lines have to be 100 percent intact, and I believe our work-rate needs to go up. It’s the third game away from home, and you can see it in the guys - it’s tough with all the flying. Come Saturday, the guys will be fine.”
Meyer added that it was encouraging to see the Boks carry the ball strongly in Perth as they built up a 13-3 lead in the first half, but then quickly said that the kicking strategy was still important against the world champions.
“It’s more about coaching those guys and putting them in situations to create the right outcome. You only get that by coaching, not just selecting a different team for every single game. You need to create opportunities against New Zealand, but I will be honest - you are not going to outplay them with their own game in New Zealand,” the Bok coach said. “You have to be clever, you have to tactically astute.”
And obviously, you have to take every single chance you have, and be very disciplined. We weren’t very disciplined in the previous Test, and that’s how you win away games.
“I really thought that we put them under pressure for 60 minutes, and that’s why they kicked more than us. Every time they kicked on us, we had chances to counter-attack, and I don’t think we did that too well. But I was very happy - I could see that they got frustrated at stages.”
Irish referee George Clancy will handle Saturday’s Test at the indoor Forsyth Barr Stadium.