Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Eye Spy - Boks topple All Blacks


This week our "Eye Spy" secret agent went back in time to see how Heyneke Meyer's men managed to pip the mighty All Blacks by 2 points to halt their unbeaten streak.

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TARGET - South Africa

WHO, WHEN, WHERE - They beat the All Blacks 27-25 in Johannesburg in the final round of the Rugby Championship back in early October

OFFENCE -  Unrecognisable at times from standard Springbok fare...the ball was getting width, there were offloads aplenty and nowhere near as many high bombs as you'd expect from them.  Still, the power up the middle is never far away from their game and there was evidence of it here.

DEFENCE - When set, very strong.  The All Blacks being who they are will always be able to exploit even the tiniest sniff of a chance which made this game close but overall the tackling & jackling from the Boks was sound.

SCRUMS - Only 8 scrums overall in this match, 4 apiece, all went with put in tho Boks had the edge in the shoving department which has to bode well

LINEOUTS - Had twin towers in Matfield and Etzebeth but often went elsewhere like Mohoje mostly to good effect.  Three went against the darts however and they were unable to snag possession on NZ throw in 14 attempts

BREAKDOWN - It's not often the All Blacks concede 19 turnovers.  Very competitive at the breakdown and had multiple effective jacklers.

DISCIPLINE - Mostly technical penalties like "deliberate" knockons.  Must say this was one of Wayne Barnes' better outings.

INDIVIDUALS  -
Le Roux - Played a large role in the new expansive style, linking up the play nicely and finding the right lines.

De Villiers & Serfontaine - very tough centre pairing to crack, work very well together.  Not quote at Darce & Drico levels just yet but could be getting there

Mohoje - Made a right nuisance of himself at the breakdown though back row partners Coetzee & Vermeulen chippen in

Hougaard - More than adequate alternative to Pienaar, superb support play for cracking opening try and of course was called upon to get the ball quickly from rucks

Pollard - Will always be remembered for 2 fearless finishes for tries but what impressed me most was that the youngster made a couple of early errors including a simple miss from the tee and managed to put them behind him.  Made a few crucial tackles around the park.  Dare I say it, it was a very Sexton-like display.

VERDICT - Nice to see some adventure from the Boks but will they need to play this way in Dublin?  Not so sure for all kinds of reasons.  But one thing is for sure - an unchanged matchday 23 from this epic victory will ensure a kind of team effort Ireland will find very tough to match in our first outing of the season.

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NEXT WEEK - Our agent will pull out all the stops to get to see Georgia v Tonga ahead of their visit to Dublin next week...if he can't manage it, he'll run the rule over Wales v Australia.

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