The Springboks can expose leaky Aussie defence out wide
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CAPE TOWN - While the Springboks insist they won’t suddenly change their percentage game plan to please the rest of the world, the Wallabies’ performance against the All Blacks yesterday may have broadened their horizons somewhat.
The South Africans take on Australia in Gold Coast on Sunday (12.05pm SA Time), and would’ve watched the Perth encounter with great interest.
What coach Jacques Nienaber and his team would have seen was how vulnerable the Aussies are in defence out wide, among numerous issues Dave Rennie needs to sort out.
The Boks will stick with their hardgrind approach where they will play territory, win their set-pieces and take their three-point penalties.
But that is not to be disparaging about their attacking approach, which has improved with every game, and will look to reach their peak against the Wallabies and All Blacks over the next four weekends.
The Aussies were all over the show against the New Zealanders, who survived a controversial red card to fullback Jordie Barrett to cruise to a 38-21 victory.
One of the main worries for Rennie will be solving defensive lapses, especially out wide. The Kiwis didn’t do anything particularly spectacular with ballin-hand; the Wallabies just slipped off too many tackles, and gave their opponents easy metres in the wider channels.
The Boks are well equipped to exploit such weaknesses. Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi are world-class finishers, while assistant coach Mzwandile Stick again mentioned fullback Willie le Roux as someone who is “one of the best guys to see space around the field”.
Add in the fact that Faf de Klerk should be reunited with Handre Pollard as the halfbacks, and the South Africans will find holes in the Aussie defence if they vary their play cleverly.