The Springboks will be hoping to be at their best when they take on New Zealand in Yokohama on Saturday. Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets
JOHANNESBURG 
 We are now just hours away from the highly anticipated Rugby World Cup Pool B match between the game’s biggest rivals, the Springboks and All Blacks, in Yokohama. Rugby writer Jacques van der Westhuyzen looks at the five steps needed by the Boks to win tomorrow

Dominate the set-pieces

It doesn’t matter who’ll be starting and who will be coming off the bench, the Boks have the best pack in the game and they need to make it count.

Man for man, the Boks are stronger and more dynamic than their All Blacks counter-parts and to get on top, and be in charge, they need to dominate the scrums and line-outs and they can do this quite comfortably  no matter the weather conditions.

A powerful scrum will lead to penalty gains, while a dominant line-out will allow the Boks to kick into the corners and set up the rolling maul.

Attack close channels

The Boks have some of the strongest and best ball-carriers in the game, men like Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kisthoff, Frans Malherbe and Malcolm Marx up front, and at the back Damian de Allende, and these men need to test the All Blacks in their nine-10 channel, phase after phase. The Boks need to pile on the pressure, and ask the All Blacks players to make a lot of tackles. It’s not always pretty, but if the Boks keep probing something will have to give, and it’s here where they’ll get their momentum.

Duane Vermeulen (left) will be playing his 50th Test when the Springboks take on the All Blacks in their opening Rugby World Cup encounter on Saturday. Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets

Kick smartly

Whether it’s Faf de Klerk launching up-and-unders or Handre Pollard and Willie le Roux kicking downfield, the Boks have to kick smartly and accurately. If they go high, the chase and contest needs to be good, and if they go long they need to kick behind the wingers, George Bridge and Sevu Reece, and into the spaces, and then pile on the pressure, from Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi.

It’s all about isolating and suffocating the All Blacks at the back and trying to force turn-overs in pressure situations. The Boks must also take advantage of Beauden Barrett playing out of position at 15.

Starve them of possession

More than any other team, the All Blacks thrive on being gifted possession and they love nothing more than counter-attacking from their own half of the field. It is in open play, with turn-over ball, that the defending champions are at their most dangerous and lethal.

They’ll run at the Boks when they least expect it, whether it’s a forward, in the form of Dane Coles or Kieran Read or Ardie Savea, or a back in the form of Aaron Smith, Ryan Crotty, Reece or Barrett ... but the Boks must deny them these opportunities by controlling the possession.

No soft moments

It is the biggest game these two teams will play in their pool and the pressure will be high - and for the referee Jerome Garces, too. The Boks need to stay focused and disciplined and not give away silly penalties for unnecessary mistakes or infringements and they also need to stay calm in what should be a high-octane affair.

Being reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes (or worse for a red card) will make an already big challenge that much harder.

The Boks also need to be clinical in their execution  be it passing or kicking  and ensure there are no so-called soft moments.


@jacq_west


The Star

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