Kaymo’s Korner: Plan A worked but what’s Plan B?

2012-06-23 14:58

I find it hard to refer to the modified Tri-Nations as the Rugby Championship because the name, Four Nations, sticks with me quite easily.

However, having watched my first rugby Test at Coca-Cola Park (a name my tongue has yet to catch), it became clear that Heyneke Meyer’s men will be in for an almighty struggle come the inaugural Rugby Championship in August.

The Sanzar partners were given a huge scare by the home nations and in Australia’s and New Zealand’s cases they did a Shawshank Redemption act on Wales and Ireland respectively.

Andy Dufresne must be smiling from whatever corner he may be hiding in, knowing that two major rugby sides took a leaf out of his drain-crawling exercise in the famous movie.

Meanwhile, the Springboks snoozed in the second half, flattering a result that could have reached Twickenham 2002 proportions – when the Boks were pasted 53-3 in an abject display of how not to play.

It may be a win in anybody’s book and rendered yesterday’s Port Elizabeth test redundant, but I cannot help but feel that our Championship partners would have beaten the Boks.

I understand the reasoning behind the very blue hue in the Springbok team for the England series.

Any rugby coach assuming the top job would have done exactly the same thing as Meyer did, picking players who are versed in his preferred style of play.

Meyer did not have the preparation time his English guests had, though he would have been hung out on a stake if his charges went into yesterday’s game all square or even trailing in the series.

Looking forward though, personnel changes will be needed ahead of the Rugby Championship. A “Springbulls” team may give Argentina and the European nations a beating, but the Wallabies and the All Blacks, well, that is a different story altogether.

The Bulls have been one South African side that has struggled to beat New Zealand sides.

They were able to edge out the Crusaders at Loftus, but the Blues, Highlanders and the Chiefs got the best of the Bulls by just keeping the ball in hand and exploiting any concentration lapses.

Not to say Meyer will use the Bulls’ game plan, which failed them, but reverting to it could be akin to harakiri.

When the Boks’ physical challenge has been met or bettered, there isn’t a Plan B and Meyer needs to have that in his arsenal.

The Springboks have done a good job of running the ball in the second Test and will have to do the same in the Rugby Championship while, more importantly, they retain the ball in the breakdown – a facet South Africa has seemed to neglect.

Meyer has to be congratulated on doing well in such a short time, especially with the preparation constraints he faced.

The Rugby Championship will give us his intended sailing direction for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. However, the honeymoon is now over and the real games have begun.

»Follow me on Twitter @kaymorizm

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