Captained Rhodesia 1962 – 1969 Rector of Michaelhouse. (1978-1986)
"Rugby is a thinking game – its’ not a running or a kicking game. This mania for running with the ball and playing open rugby at all costs is stupid – you must adapt yourself to the circumstances and play to your strength"
Now 50 years later Niel Jardine writes for Frosty ...
So the test against our rivals from OZ has come and gone. Nick Mallett describes the current Wallabies as the worst Australian side in twenty years. What do you think? In the first half did they play badly or did the Boks not allow them to play to their strengths? It was a game of two halves in the sense that SA dominated possession and territory in the first half, the Australians, revived like Lazarus from the dead and lived life to the full after the break. They kept the ball, showed initiative and moved forward. The Boks defended well throughout the match but lacked cohesion and focus in the second half. They could not sustain their concentration and basic skills. The urgency of gaining a fourth try and hence a vital bonus point was not matched by astute leadership or the ability to adapt to the new circumstances on the field. It was lamentable. The second half was shared 5-all! Now the Boks have to score four tries against the All Blacks and prevent them from gaining a bonus point. It will take some team work. It will call for near perfection in the area of basic skills, faultless defense, impeccable goal-kicking, great attacking and self-discipline! (If I were the national coach I would tell my squad that any player who gets a yellow card would be dropped for at least two tests. No messing around. These are supposed to be adults and professionals; they get paid to do the job not give way to playground temper at a primary school).
The Boks were superb in the first half, they showed a fresh inventive approach to out witting their opponents - pat on the back to the three-quarters coach. Kirschner's try was great, passing excellent, making of the extra man, all at the very highest level. Le Roux's try was also very skillful especially the placing of the ball over the try line just inside the touchline. (I'll have to think again about the relative talents of le Roux and Basson). The secrets of effective back play are impeccable handling and passing, an ability to run the right lines, the ability to create the extra man in space and decision-making; for the fly half in particular, it's deciding whether to keep the ball, pass it or kick it. (Why does Morne Steyn run towards his inside center when he passes the ball? Has he heard – or his coach heard – about the swing pass? This checks the inside opposition and so gives the outside backs a little more time to operate effectively. Rugby is a game of very small margins (refer to the Golden Lions versus Sharks match last Friday for only one example.) So next Saturday let's watch the national side play above themselves, show superior psychological strength and exhibit momentum throughout. I hope they have identified the match-winners in the All Black squad – Read, Ben Smith, Carter among others. There has to be a clear-cut strategy to disrupt and contain them.
P.S The Currie Cup games were delightful – how the game has improved. The standard of play comes on in leaps and bounds; the depth of talent encouraging. Good luck Boks the whole county will be behind you as you take on the mighty Kiwis.