Independent Online

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Springboks trust Jacques Nienaber’s ‘unorthodox’ plans, says Handre Pollard

South Africa's Handre Pollard kicks the ball during the rugby Championship match against New Zealand. Photo: Patrick Hamilton/AFP

South Africa's Handre Pollard kicks the ball during the rugby Championship match against New Zealand. Photo: Patrick Hamilton/AFP

Published Sep 29, 2021


DURBAN - SOCIAL media has been awash with criticism of Springbok halfbacks Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard because of their relentless kicking strategy in the narrow defeat to the All Blacks last week, but Pollard is unrepentant and says the Boks have total belief in their game plan.

During yesterday’s team announcement for this Saturday’s return match against New Zealand, Pollard was rather directly asked if it was team policy to kick when the Boks have momentum and are approaching the opposition 22.

Story continues below Advertisement

Pollard began his reply with a short laugh and a grin, as if aware of the endless gallows humour centred around the Bok kicking, before saying: “We have a specific DNA in this team and we trust our plans and processes.

“Of course it is a bit different to do stuff that way but that was the plan we had for that Test match and the guys stuck to it really well,” he explained.

ALSO READ: Springboks can’t hide from their DNA, says coach Jacques Nienaber

“The aerial contest is an aspect of the game where we feel we are the best in the world, and we work really hard at it and will keep doing it going forward because we trust Jacques’s plan and the process. It is a bit unorthodox at times, I guess, but we believe in it.”

Coach Jacques Nienaber said in the same press conference that the Boks would continue with the same tactics as long as the opposition “load the front line with 14 players and leave just one defender at the back.”

ALSO READ: Jacques Nienaber on Springbok game plan: Our option will always be to attack space

Story continues below Advertisement

So it looks like it will be more of the same from the heavy Springbok artillery this week, even though the tactics have left the Boks winless for three Tests in a row. But Pollard said the Boks have not lost faith in how they play.

“After losing a couple in a row you would think our confidence would be dented but, as a team, we have so much belief in our processes and we get confidence from our preparation, our plan and from each other,” he said.

“We do not look back at results even if we have won — we put all our energy into our plan for the week, and we get confidence from how we train and from each other, then on Saturday we do the best we can. Obviously you tidy a few things, but it is the same process, the same intent and energy and hopefully this week the result will go our way.

Story continues below Advertisement


IOL Sport