Meyer concerned about breakdown

Date published: April 15 2013

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says he has concerns about South African teams' capacity to compete at the breakdown.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says he has concerns about South African teams' capacity to compete at the breakdown and the slow development of backline play.

Meyer has prepared a presentation, which he hopes will help improve the skills of South African players at the breakdown, believing that they are some distance from their international counterparts.

The Springboks play consecutive home matches against Scotland, Italy and Samoa in June and are currently gathered in a training camp in Cape Town.

“South Africa is lagging far behind the rest of the world in breakdown play and very soon I'll be doing a presentation to SA Rugby and the coaches with the view to showing them how we can improve,” said Meyer.

“I also feel that our backline play has not developed as much as it should and I hope to share some ideas with the franchise coaches. It's something that we have already addressed I have seen an improvement, but we have some very good backline players who could do much better.”

As far as player depth was concerned, Meyer said the loss of national players to leagues abroad was part and parcel of the modern-day game but added that he was disappointed that players plying their trade in Japan were not available.

“The International Rugby Board does have a provision which allows a country to select players based in Japan but the clubs there fork out huge sums of money for the foreigners and they don't expect to lose players for national team call-ups,” Meyer said.

“One cannot blame the players because it is very lucrative and the players don't want to fall out with their (Japanese) clubs.

“We have some very good players in Japan, and I think especially of Fourie du Preez and Jaque Fourie, both of whom could still play for the Springboks.”

The depth at scrum-half and at lock was another source of concern for the Bok mentor.

“Right now the scrum-half berth (in the Bok team) is wide open and that's why I brought in (Sharks scrum-half) Cobus Reinach and Louis Schreuder,” said Meyer.

“We have two scrum-halves (Jano Vermaak and Francois Hougaard) out injured and Reinach has been playing well. I think that Schreuder is a fine prospect with lots of ability, and I'm grateful that Western Province released him to train with us.

“We've lost our five top locks and no country can afford that.

“Pieter-Steph du Toit is a player with world-class potential and he has the ability to become a world great.

Meyer was however positive over the progress he and his staff had made in their preparations.

“This is the best I have ever prepared a team, we have had coaching camps and I have been all over the world studying teams.

“Over the last three or four months we have looked at everything, we have been through every single breakdown.

“We are in a much better place at this stage than last year. We have never prepared like this, it is now a matter of getting it through to the players.

“We have been sending stuff out to them already and I am excited to see the response from them.”

Following their triple header on home soil, South Africa will take part in the Rugby Championship with Australia, Argentina and New Zealand before travelling to Europe in November for matches against Wales, Scotland and France.