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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Five vital factors the Springboks must address against Romania

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The Springboks are changing up for the clash against Romania after winning their first Rugby World Cup Pool B clash last weekend.

Although the 18-3 victory over Scotland ended up being a comfortable one, South Africa will look to sharpen up in quite a few areas to go up a few gears ahead of the all-important clash against Ireland next weekend.

We looked at aspects of their play the Boks will need to be more clinical in when they take on the Romanians in Bordeaux on Sunday (3pm kickoff) .

Completing the tackle puzzle

Yes, the Boks are the only team that haven’t conceded any tries in the tournament.

But they will look at the 23 missed tackles against the Scots and feel that they could have done better when it comes to their tackle completion.

Against a more clinical team – Scotland did not use the chances they created in the first half – so many missed tackles will most probably have meant a try or two against the South Africans.

The defensive scramble of the Boks, though, especially when flyhalf Manie Libbok hauled in Scotland wing Darcy Graham, saved them.

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Walking the scrums

The Boks lost two scrums at the back-end of the first half against Scotland, and it’s something their formidable pack will want to set straight against Romania.

Not just any team will on the day get a scrum penalty against the Boks, so to get two blown against them will not go down well with the engine room of the South Africans.

Their recovery was absolutely sublime, so much so that they completely folded the Scottish scrum from the first one in the second half right up until the end.

But the 71.4% scrum success rate, according to rugbyworldcup.com, will be a driving factor for the changed front row of Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi and Vincent Koch, and the rest of the pack to improve on.

Hookers finding their jumpers

What every coach wants to see is his team maintaining a 90% and above ratio in terms of winning their own lineouts. That is what the Boks did against Scotland, and they only missed one of their 12 throws last weekend.

This domination at the lineout shows how much work is put in by the Boks when they line up against opponents at a throw-in.

Even when they do not have their best lineout throwers and locks playing, the back-ups are capable of the same. That is the good thing about this Bok side.

Jean Kleyn and Marvin Orie will line up at lock against Romania, and they will step up to not just secure lineouts, but to also compete for their opponents’ possession.

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Rolling with the mauls

One of the Boks’ biggest weapons, the rolling maul, did not deliver the rewards they wanted, but some mauls came out of the Scottish clash that the world champions will want to build on.

Romania present the perfect opportunity to really get the mauls going and score points off them.

To put it bluntly, the Romanians should not be in the same class as SA when it comes to this part of the game.

They should be mauling Romania in every sense of the word.

And if Deon Fourie, is on point with his lineout throws as the replacement hooker – especially with Malcolm Marx now ruled out of the World Cup due to a knee injury – the Stormers star is the perfect player to have at the back of the maul to control the ball and score.

Fine-tune the kicking game

The Boks regathered a total of 18 kicks against Scotland, and that says something about their work under the high ball.

Faf de Klerk’s kicks from the base of the ruck were pinpoint, and the team will want to build on that against Romania.

And that is the beauty of the Bok team – whoever is up to take over the kicking duties on the day knows that if they are accurate, the wings and fullback will be able to chase and compete against their opponents with a good success rate.

@Leighton_K

IOL Sport

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