Cape Town - Former Springbok assistant coach Gary Gold has given the national team some advice regarding what game plan to employ against France.
The Boks had a torrid 2016, winning only four out of 12 Tests in Allister Coetzee’s first season in charge.
The upcoming three-Test series against the French is therefore of utmost importance and Gold - nowadays the director of rugby at English club Worcester Warriors - says he expects Coetzee to go back to basics.
“I anticipate the Springboks being well-organised and certainly think that they will be smart in terms of game plan. Having now had a decent amount of preparation time, expect the Springboks to go back to their traditional game and use the drive as much more of a weapon. Not only to launch their plays, but also to keep the opposition guessing,” Gold said in an exclusive interview with Sport24.
“Coetzee’s charges need to get themselves into the right areas of the field - the opposition half - and look to keep ball in hand and ask serious questions of the French defence. I don’t believe the visitors’ defence will prove their strong point. If the Springboks hold onto the ball for a few phases, utilise the width of the field effectively by running well into space and dominate the gain line, France is a team South Africa can breach.”
Playing “smart rugby” would be of essence for the Boks, Gold stressed.
“If the hosts are boring and play one-off runners coming around the corner, which I don’t believe they will, the French won’t have a problem defending against them. South Africa have to be smart in terms of their decision-making - where they choose to play and where they opt to conserve energy," he continued.
“Meanwhile, if the French are going to play an off-loading game you want to take their time and space away as much as possible. What you don’t want to do is sit back on your heels and allow them to get the ball to the line, play their dummy runners in-behind and have options to offload. The Springboks have to get the balance right by coming up off the line to put Les Tricolores under enough pressure, but also realise that in contact situations France will be looking for off-loads.”
Saturday's first Test at Loftus Versfeld is scheduled for 17:00.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds
15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Loann Goujon, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Yoann Maestri (captain), 4 Julien le Devedec, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Clément Maynadier, 1 Jefferson Poirot
Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Mohamed Boughanmi, 19 Bernard le Roux, 20 Kévin Gourdon, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Vincent Rattez