Wynne Gray on sport

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Boks keeping it old-school for final blast

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Heyneke Meyer. Photo / Getty Images
Heyneke Meyer. Photo / Getty Images

Those expecting a change of Springbok coach to bring an alteration in style have not watched much footy in the Republic.

Since South Africa was readmitted to the rugby world in 1992, they have used 11 coaches with few deviating from the traditional template of forward domination backed by kick methods.

It's in their DNA although there were some like Nick Mallett and Harry Viljoen who tried to vary the patterns more.

Heyneke Meyer, the latest to wear the green and gold-piped blazer and assault the intercom with coaching instructions has favoured conventional coaching ideas and the tactics he used with the Bulls.

His side probably staggered themselves with a five-try haul last week against the Wallabies but they were given more opportunities by a busted group of visitors.

This Sunday is their final test in the Rugby Championship, a test at Soweto against the unbeaten All Blacks.

This is the Boks' chance for redemption after a narrow defeat in Dunedin.

Meyer has pinpointed an aggressive forward display backed by sharp tactical kicking as the Boks' solution for this repeat test.

"We will never beat them by playing them at their own game," the coach said.

"We won't out-manoeuvre or out-run them. No, if we're going to beat them we must force them to play our game. We will have to put the necessary pressure on them, on defence, at the breakdown and through our kicking game."

Last year the teams played at Port Elizabeth, where the Boks cleaned the All Blacks' clock 18-5. A week later the tourists were beaten once more by the Wallabies 25-20 in Brisbane.

Since then the All Blacks have won 15 tests straight, including the World Cup, and are heading towards the record 17-test streak for tier one nations jointly held by their 1960s predecessors and Boks of the 90s and the 18-test run delivered by Lithuania.

The Boks at Soccer City in Soweto are the greatest hurdle given that the Wallabies, later this month, are in turmoil and Scotland, the first opponent in the end of year tour, have not delivered too much recently.

The All Blacks have played once before at Soccer City, in 2010, when they claimed two tries in a sensational final three minutes to wrest victory from the Boks.

Morne Steyn kept the Boks in the test with his precise kicking for territory and goal but his faulty radar and stuttering play this season has brought young five eighth Johan Goosen into the test side.

Goal kicking is one area where the Boks usually match the All Blacks but not in this Rugby Championship.

Steyn, Frans Steyn, Goosen and Ruan Pienaar have goaled 19 from 37 attempts at a shade over 51 per cent success while Daniel Carter and Aaron Cruden between them, have kicked 28 from 40 for a 70 per cent strike rate.

The All Blacks have also been favoured by a minimal casualty list.

While the Boks lost a stack of contenders like Schalk Burger, Pierre Spies, Juan Smit, Heinrich Brussow, Bismarck du Plessis and JP Pietersen before the series started, they have now lost Frans Steyn, Coenie Oosthuizen and Jacques Potgeiter from last week with Zane Kirchner, Goosen and Willem Alberts still sore.

Recovery and sleep will be All Black priorities as they weather their next time change as the global series reaches its end.

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- NZ Herald

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