Boks will be quick to bounce back, says Os

2010-07-16 00:00

WELLINGTON — When Springbok consul­tant Os du Randt speaks, it is with the gravitas of a legend, and the two-time World Cup winner had a message for both his team and lawmakers ahead of tomorrow’s Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks.

Messages are sometimes judged not so much by their content, but who they come from, and Du Randt (37), with 80 Test caps and two World Cup winner’s medals, has an impeccable pedigree.

So when he says Springbok teams have a tendency to “fall asleep”, he is speaking from experience.

“I’m involved with more than just the scrum. I’ve been away from the system for just three years, so I can tell what has changed and what has stayed the same.

“One thing that has changed is that the confidence within the team has really grown. For four years we were always trying to prove ourselves at the highest level, but now the whole world accepts that we are one of the best teams around.

“But then some aspects of our game can become a bit lax; sometimes it seems like we are just going through the motions. That’s maybe what happened last Saturday, so I had to speak hard to the boys, get their minds right and refresh the guys’ minds about stuff they already know.

“It makes no difference the number of Tests you have played; every now and then you will get a wake-up call. The big challenge for management is not allowing the team to fall into that trap of complacency. South Africans have a tendency to sometimes be asleep — it happened to us in 2006 [the infamous 49-0 thrashing in Brisbane]. Sometimes it seems we must first be rapped over the knuckles, then we want to play.”

The giant loosehead said he believes the Springboks will be quick to bounce back from their flat showing last weekend in Auckland, and he will be expecting further improvements in the scrum.

“I felt the team looked genuinely good; there was a good vibe heading into the Auckland Test. In retrospect, maybe we were practising at 200 km/h and we might have overlooked some of the small finesse things.

“The depth in our scrum is unbelievably good; we have a whole clump of Test caps on the bench. A guy like Gurthro Steenkamp, it’s unbelievable how he has restored his rugby after he was destroyed in England at the end of last year.

“I thought the scrum was good against France last month because they have given us lots of problems in the last few years. Every­one remembers what happened against Leicester last year, but the scrums are still 50-60% from where I want them to be. With the size and power that we have, it’s common sense that our scrum should be much better. It’s just a matter of getting all the forces lined up,” Du Randt said.

His message to the lawmakers is that he would prefer to see the scrums go back to the days when the only calls the referee made before the set-piece were “crouch” and “engage”.

“It’s always a problem because each referee is an individual and will have a different speed to his calls. They are also under pressure not to have a lot of scrum re-sets, so it makes it difficult for the front rows because they have to stay tense for four, five, six seconds. It means you have to work hard on your discipline. And if you don’t get that split-second edge on your opposition, then you won’t have what you need to get a right shoulder, for example.

“I accept you need to look at the safety factor, but maybe they should just use ‘crouch, touch, pause, engage’ at school. At the moment it’s like a speed limit: You don’t like it, but you just have to accept it,” Du Randt said. — News24.

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