Springboks

Smith: Boks need to freshen up

Franco Smith (Gallo)
Franco Smith (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Springbok backline coach Franco Smith says the national side needs to "freshen up" its playing style in 2017. 

The Boks are currently in Johannesburg where a three-day training camp - minus the Sharks and Kings - will come to an end on Tuesday. 

Smith has replaced Mzwandile Stick this year and he has a reputation for being an attacking coach with the Cheetahs in Super Rugby. 

Playing ball-in-hand rugby was made a priority for the Boks after the 2015 World Cup, but just four wins out of 12 in 2016 - Coetzee's first year in charge - left South African rugby questioning everything about itself. 

Months of uncertainty surrounding Coetzee's future followed, but it has since been confirmed that he will stay on in 2017. 

Smith is there to help him, and the Cheetahs head coach confirmed on Monday that playing ball-in-hand rugby was still very much a priority. 

"We're going to take it one game at a time. We want to up-skill the players ... the way that we've been playing needs to freshen up a little bit," he said.

"We've all decided that ... not just me and the coaching team, but also the franchises. They all have a good ball-in-hand approach now so obviously come closer to the Test matches we will decide at which level we've improved. We'll look at what players we need playing in the Test and we'll adapt accordingly.

"But we're heading in the right direction where everybody can play with the ball in hand."

Smith added that the pressure the players were under during their horrific year in 2016 would have contributed to their poor decision-making on the field. 

"Pressure has got a lot to do with it," said Smith.

"The will to perform never lacks in the Springbok side. Hopefully we can up-skill them enough so that the pressure won't influence decision making."

The Boks play their first Test of the year against France in Pretoria on June 10. 

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