Boks ‘too smart’

2013-10-04 00:00

THE Springboks will be chasing four tries, but All Black coach Steve Hansen is not expecting a dramatic change in the South Africans’ style of play in the Rugby Championship decider at Ellis Park tomorrow evening.

The Springboks need to win with a four-try bonus point to snatch the title but Hansen is expecting them to follow the traditional path in attempting to reach their objective.

Hansen, addressing the media in Johannesburg yesterday, said the one change would be that the Springboks would not be kicking too often at goal.

“They’ll kick for the corner and try and drive over and score some tries that way. They’ll try and play their way into the game like they always do and I’m sure they’ll be physical and look to use the ball a little bit more.”

But he does not believe they will stretch the game as much as they did in beating the Wallabies in Cape Town last Saturday.

“They used the ball a bit more against Australia than when they played us and they were more combative in Auckland. “They kicked against us a bit more and they were happy to take us on upfront.”

Hansen said he was convinced the Springboks would rely heavily on their hard-driving forwards to fashion tries rather than suddenly playing expansive rugby.

“If you try and change your game too much just because you are searching for four tries, you will get yourself into trouble.

“The Boks are too smart for that and they will stick with their strengths and try and wear us down.”

But Hansen is convinced it will be a major rugby event in front of a packed Ellis Park crowd.

“This is one of the biggest occasions on the rugby calendar — the All Blacks versus South Africa. This is what these guys do for a living. The All Blacks want to play against the best, and they see the South Africans as the best side in this competition,” Hansen said.

“We want to go out and play really well against them. And we have the added bonus of playing at Ellis Park, which is great.”

The All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster yesterday pooh-poohed suggestions that altitude would be a factor tomorrow.

“This is the first time we’ve spoken about it,” Foster said. “Through Super Rugby over the years we’re just used to it. As long as you’re fit, you get through it.”

Foster said that mental and physical fatigue after a long season, and not the altitude, would be a concern but added that the All Blacks had the bench to cope with the challenge.

“We certainly experienced it [fatigue] last week against the Pumas. The bench gave us something that we needed in the last 20 to 25 minutes. We’re expecting the same on Saturday.”

The Test kicks off at 5 pm tomorrow with Welshman Nigel Owens as the referee.

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