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CAMPO: Boks go for combinations and a simple game plan

David Campese Columnist

By David Campese, David Campese is a Roar Expert

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    The Springboks take on Wales at Twickenham. (AFP PHOTO / Marty Melville)

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    I was at the Springboks training session the other day, after their first squad for the year had been named, and it was interesting to get a first hand perpective on the tactics the team will take into the English Tests.

    The verdict – precise kicking from 9 and 10.

    From what I could determine, it looks like kicking will play a big part in the game plan, which fits in with the type of team that new coach Heyneke Meyer has selected (Blue bulls style).

    He has clearly picked a team that he knows will play the simple style that he wants to play. It’s a team rich in talent and experience, which is important as he must win in the eyes of all South Africans.

    Sure, there’s been a lot of people in South Africa complaining about the squad, and the omission of flanker Heinrich Brussow in particular. And to be fair, a number of Stormers players who have been playing well haven’t been picked.

    But Heyneke knows the world will be watching, and playing England at home, he knows winning is the first and foremost priority.

    Yesterday, we saw the Wallabies lose (again) to Scotland.

    It seems to me, the problem was that the Australian team had no combinations in the centres and at 8-9-10.

    You need combinations at this level of rugby. You can’t just pick a bunch of talented individuals and expect them to do the job.

    I am sure some will use the weather as an excuse but, sorry, not good enough. This is the ultimate level of rugby and there are no excuses.

    In the past, the most successful teams have had great combinations in key positions: Farr-Jones/Ella, Farr-Jones/Lynagh, Hawker/O’Connor, Nonu/Smith, van der Westhuizen/Stransky, Gregan/Larkham, to name a few.

    What is concerning me is the move towards creating all-round players and doing away with specialist players, which affects the team and the combinations.

    Communicating and understanding each other comes through playing together consistently, which does not happen nowadays. Some would argue that Australia has not produced a successful combination at 10/12/13 since Horan and Little, some 12 years ago.

    The Springboks under 20 team played against Ireland the other day.

    Ireland controlled the game and the Boks combinations didn’t click into gear. They had a few opportunities to win but combinations and confidence let them down.

    At one point near the death, they had a lineout four meters out from the Irish line and lost the ball and the match as a result.

    You must stay composed and stick to the basics.

    This is what happens when you get together as a new team, without any significant combinations in place.

    Look at the Reds this season. Genia has struggled this year because, for much of it, he hasn’t had Cooper alongside of him in the backline. The more great players you have, the more pressure you put on the opposition.

    But an even bigger problem in Australia is that we lack combinations in the centers, as we saw in the RWC2011.

    Wouldn’t it be great to see a Horan/Little combo again? Stop the opposition and give the outside backs a chance to show how good they are.

    Having watched the Springboks backline at training, you could see that it is a backline that has played together and will understand each other under pressure.

    Meyer has entered his debut series with an understanding that he needs to pick combinations in key positions to be in with a show of winning.

    At this level of rugby, you can’t keep chopping and changing. That’s when things fall apart.

    Against England, the Springboks are playing the enemy. There is a lot of pride there. They simply have to win. And I think this squad can do it.

    Check out a bbumper weekend of rugby ahead, with the All Blacks vs Ireland and Australia vs Wales. I know what I will be doing.

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • June 6th 2012 @ 5:03am
      Charging Rhino said | June 6th 2012 @ 5:03am | ! Report

      So what was the back line that the Boks ran at training? Ie which players from 9-15? Can you disclose?
      I’m thinking:
      9- Hougard
      10- M Steyn
      11- Habana
      12- F Steyn
      13- J De Villiers
      14- JP Pieterson
      15- Lambie

      • June 6th 2012 @ 5:16am
        Nicksa said | June 6th 2012 @ 5:16am | ! Report

        i think kirchner will prob be 15

      • June 6th 2012 @ 10:49am
        Suzy Poison said | June 6th 2012 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        The lineup that ran at the first training session is: Zane Kirchner, JP Pietersen, Jean de Villiers (capt), Frans Steyn, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Juandre Kruger, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira.

        • June 6th 2012 @ 3:32pm
          Ivan said | June 6th 2012 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

          The prospect of having a 960kg pack in the 4N…..

          Beast,Biz,Coenie (can play 3), Eben,Andries,Schalk,Willem,Duane….. sounds scary considering each of those are
          bruisers on their own. each can steal ball, each tackles really hard, each breaks the advantage line regularly.

          then with Fdp back in top form, play him with Goosen.

          Put Hougie on left wing,

          Put habana at 13 next to Jean at 12

          put frans at 15

          Mvovo on right wing



        • Roar Guru

          June 6th 2012 @ 3:41pm
          Rusty said | June 6th 2012 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

          I like it…sure it would be great to have Lambie instead of Sideshow Bob but that is not a bad squad.

          Sharks Frontrow
          New lock pairing of the form players
          Sharks open and blind
          Buls 8-9-10 Axis
          Steyn 12 is a great result
          JdV at 13 is a bit of a worry
          Wings are good
          Lambie for Kirchner but still a solid option

      • June 6th 2012 @ 3:28pm
        Ivan said | June 6th 2012 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

        If he goes the way we think he will…

        Hougaard,Steyn,Habana,de Villiers, Steyn, Petersen, Kirchner

    • June 6th 2012 @ 5:20am
      Who Needs Melon said | June 6th 2012 @ 5:20am | ! Report

      “What is concerning me is the move towards creating all-round players and doing away with specialist players, which affects the team and the combinations”. So, so true.

    • June 6th 2012 @ 5:46am
      Mick said | June 6th 2012 @ 5:46am | ! Report

      We’ve had 1 good centre combination since Horan-Little, Horan-Herbert.

      If Mortlock had a gun player inside him, it could’ve changed our results from 2003-2008. We’re still no closer to a centre combo now either, compared to Boks and Blacks (and Ireland and Wales), we really struggle for depth here, which is poor, as Aussie rugby is ‘meant’ to be strong in the backs.

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    • June 6th 2012 @ 6:06am
      mania said | June 6th 2012 @ 6:06am | ! Report

      i still think this game was lost in the forwards. backs is aus’ least worries. tight 5 is the problem

    • June 6th 2012 @ 6:07am
      The_Dude said | June 6th 2012 @ 6:07am | ! Report

      Aussie centres combo to nurture are; Faingaa/ Horne or possibly O’Connor/ Faingaa…
      The Brumbies showed what combos can do this season with 2 known players only!
      Go Jake for Wobblies coach I say, away with Desperate Deans… Seen (not) enough frankly!

      • Roar Rookie

        June 6th 2012 @ 10:30am
        Behold said | June 6th 2012 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        Taps is the best centre in Australia shame he is injured at the moment. O’Connor/Tapuai is small combination but they would be very potent in attack. O’Connor is definitely an inside centre/fullback and not a 10.

    • June 6th 2012 @ 6:56am
      Demers said | June 6th 2012 @ 6:56am | ! Report

      Many Roarers said that a McCabe/Fainga’a combo wouldn’t cut it, and then to our dismay we got a Harris/Fainga’a combo that didn’t cut it. You can see what the loss of JOC means – Deans had to pick a kicker and stick him somewhere. How ironic that that kicker’s punt rolled dead and led to etc etc.

      The Boks have so many good candidates for the midfield that they can afford to hum and ha about somebody as talented as De Jong. And the ABs have not one but two great midfield choices. Maybe three. What we have to hope for, going into the new 4N comp, is that Quade is back to team up with Genia, that Mitchell/Turner recover, that JOC works out at 12, and that we promote one of the more talented youngsters to 13. That’s an awful lot of hoping.

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