Cape Town - New Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will not completely move away from the traditional style of play South Africans have grown accustomed to, but he does admit that the team must evolve in certain ways.
Coetzee was speaking in Johannesburg on Tuesday after being named as Heyneke Meyer’s successor as national coach.
Under the guidance of Meyer, the Springboks copped heavy criticism for their often conservative style of play.
Many pundits have called for the Boks to be more enterprising on attack, similar to the way in which the world champion All Blacks play.
Coetzee though stressed that it will be important to not completely move away from the traditional strengths of Springbok rugby.
“We have to evolve in certain ways. And there’s nothing wrong with the way we’ve played. Because we’ve always said we’ll play to the strength of South Africa. And I will maintain that, make sure that we keep (doing) what we’re good at,” said Coetzee.
“We are renowned for our physicality and it’s just that other countries have actually accepted the challenge and they’ve gotten better. Now we just have to be a bit smarter in the way we want to play, how we want to use (our physicality), and where we want to use our physicality.”
However, incorporating an enterprising style will add value, Coetzee believes.
“I think the area of focus is always about the attack, as we saw in Super Rugby, a lot of coaches are encouraging the ball in hand style, and play a bit in the wider channels or with width, but I’m a firm believer that in this game of rugby there are different areas to pressure the opposition.
“If it’s not with a kicking game, not the set-piece, surely if it’s not defence, then it must be on attack.”
According to Coetzee, the team’s speed of movement on attack will be important.
“That’s one thing that I will focus on and see how quickly we can generate ball, how quickly we can get into position, how quickly we can use our hands to get the ball through.
“We have to put a lot more emphasis on our tactical decision makers, especially our 9s and 10s to make the right decisions.”
Team culture was often trumpeted by Meyer, a philosophy Coetzee also follows.
“You want to have a Springbok team that definitely must play for the passion for the green and gold. And those are things that come with aligning everyone... and following a good and a proper culture.
“I know without a doubt that we’ve got talent, we’ve got the players and if they believe and they buy into it, then we will have a Springbok team that can go to any part of the world and do their best.”