FILE - Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
FILE - Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Mzwandile wants Springboks to Stick to their guns against Wallabies, All Blacks

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Sep 5, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – Since 1993, the Springboks have beaten the Wallabies just five times in 30 Tests in Australia, with two draws.

The Boks actually won their first match Down Under since readmission to international rugby, with a 19-12 win in Sydney.

The next time South Africa were victorious away from home against the Aussies was in 1998 – a 14-13 triumph at the Subiaco Oval in Perth, followed by a 22-19 success in 2005 in Perth, 32-25 by the Tri-Nations-winning class of 2009, again in Perth, and then a sensational 38-12 bonus-point performance in 2013 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

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So, despite being world champions and having beaten the British and Irish Lions this year, there is little reason for the Boks to be too confident about getting past the 2021 Wallabies in next weekend’s Rugby Championship clash at the CBUS Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.

Don’t read too much into the 57-22 defeat suffered by Michael Hooper’s team at the hands of the All Blacks at Eden Park a few weeks ago – or even today’s second clash between the teams in Perth.

Somehow, the Boks always seem to be dragged down to the Wallabies’ level in Australia. One such occasion was in 2014, when Morné Steyn missed a late penalty into touch, and Rob Horne scored the winning try for a 24-23 result.

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Current head coach Jacques Nienaber’s team are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past, starting with their style of play.

The Boks’ percentage tactics was again a topic of discussion this week, and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick again batted away the criticism, which has also come from current and former All Black coaches Ian Foster and Steve Hansen.

He insisted that the Boks were “not going to listen to what people are telling us, about how we must play the game”, but he did mention that he expects the Wallabies and All Blacks to stretch the South Africans out wide with their attacking approach.

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First up are the Aussies on the Gold Coast next Sunday (12.05pm SA time kick-off).

“I’m still confused about the criticism. I don’t understand how people are still criticising how we play the game. If you look at our wings – Makazole

Mapimpi’s try-scoring record, he’s scoring a lot of tries. He is around 16 tries out of 18 games,” Stick said this week.

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“Cheslin Kolbe is scoring brilliant tries; Lukhanyo Am has been playing great rugby. Willie le Roux is one of the best guys to see space around the field. We are scoring more points than the teams we are playing against, and that is how we are winning games.

“So, when people are talking about the style of play and that they’ve got a problem with how we play, unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it. We are not going to change who we are – we are always going to stick to our DNA, and stick to what we do best.

“We are not going to listen to what people are telling us, about how we must play the game. They must just focus on wherever they are involved, and must try and play that touch rugby or champagne rugby there.

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“Something we need to make peace with is that we are the No 1 team in the world currently; we are the world champions. So people are going to talk about us, even if it’s positive or negative.

“Unfortunately, it’s the nature of the position we are in. I would like to go back to a saying that I believe in: A dog doesn’t bark at a car that’s standing still… it just pees on it. A dog only barks at a car that is moving. So, people will always talk about you when you start doing the right things and achieving stuff in life.”

Whatever happens in today’s match between Australia and New Zealand is unlikely to influence the Boks’ plans either.

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“Everyone knows what to expect from the two teams – very, very highly expansive, they call it entertaining rugby. There won’t be much difference to how they play, because it is in their DNA,” Stick said.

“We will have a good plan in place, and will look to execute that plan.”

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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