Coach downplays Bok failure

Date published: November 11 2014

Springbok forwards coach Johann van Graan insists that his team did play as badly as the scoreline suggested in the loss to Ireland.

Springbok forwards coach Johann van Graan insists that his team did play as badly as the scoreline suggested in last week’s loss to Ireland.

Van Graan said the Boks’ failure to get their European tour off to the winning start in Dublin had more to with indiviudal errors rather than inadegaute gameplan

“There was a lot of emotion afterwards, but after carefully studying video footage of the game, there were a lot of positives and a few negatives,” Van Graan told the gathered media at Monday’s press conference in London.

“We enjoyed 63 percent territory and 55percent possession. Even though Ireland kicked in behind us, we still won the territory battle. Also, our success rate for our own possession at the set pieces was 100 percent.

“I also thought we exited well from the restarts. We executed our line-out plan and our scrums were brilliant.

“We just made too many handling errors and weren’t clinical enough.

“It was another valuable lesson in rugby. It is not the amount of possession or the amount of territory, but what you do with it.

“We need to be a bit more clinical, there are one or two things to fix and we will work hard in training this week.

“Statistically, we had 96 breakdowns on our side and lost five, while Ireland had 60 breakdowns and also lost five,” added Van Graan said, admitting this weekend’s clash against England at Twickenham is set to be another huge battle at the breakdown.

“It seems the teams in the Northern Hemisphere also kick the ball more and turn it into more of an arm-wrestle.

“However, it comes back to what we do.

“Your breakdown starts with your carrier. Our carriers need to dominate the advantage line and then [it is] the reaction speed of the cleaners.

“That [the breakdown] is one of England’s major strengths.

“In saying that, we are the team that wins the most ball on the ground and there is a massive test coming up at the weekend at the breakdown area.”

“One thing about this team, win or lose, we want to be consistent and we want to play good, winning Springbok rugby and we want to make ourselves and our country proud.”

There was some good news from team Doctor Craig Roberts, who gave the squad a clean bill of health. The only inury worry beyond a few bumps and bruises is prop Jannie du Plessis – who will have to see a dentist after he fractured a tooth.