Former Lions and Bok assistant coach Swys de Bruin gave some excellent insights into what the Boks need to do to beat England during Owen Nkumane’s “Masterplan” show on Supersport.
Swys stopped short of saying what the Boks will do – partially out of respect for his old partner Rassie Erasmus, and partly because he probably didn’t want to give away too much intel to the opposition.
He nevertheless made some salient points on the show.
1) The Boks will use their rush defence to put some serious heat on the England backline. The All Blacks failed to do so on Saturday and paid the price. England deployed the same rush defence tactic against the ABs so it will be rush defence v rush defence. John Mitchell vs Jacques Nienaber. Swys believes the game will be won and lost on who his able to administer the most pressure in this department.
2) South Africa are wasting a “free pass” by kicking away penalty advantages too early, particularly in their opponents half. These days referees give teams plenty of advantage time so why not try to make full use of it instead of kicking a speculative up and under every time? Again it is a free opportunity to score a try with no risk at all – almost like a free hit in cricket. How often do we see the All Blacks convert a try when the referee is playing advantage? The answer is often.
3) Regarding the overuse of the box kick – Faf de Klerk made 19 of them vs Wales – Swys believes that the tactic is working as it has got the Boks to the final. Interestingly, while England kick a lot they prefer to kick on the run thereby drawing the defending wings up a little and opening up space behind them to exploit. When launching a box kick the Springboks have 3 outcomes – first prize is retrieving their own kick, second prize is giving their opponent a scrappy ball that is difficult to create anything from and the bronze medal is when the opponent claims the ball but the Bok chase-defence puts that player under pressure. England’s wings are very good in the air so the Boks will need to be very accurate in their execution of this tactic.
4) Swys believes that Rassie will have one or two tricks and variations up his sleeve for this one. He is renowned for his analysis of opponents and will spend some time during the week formulating a specific plan for England. The overall game plan is unlikely to change too much at this stage but there are likely to be a few variations to the theme.
It’s such a pity that Swys is not involved with the Springboks for personal reasons but his insights were invaluable. Who knows maybe he has a hotline in to Rassie anyway?