South African rugby has great depth. The experienced guys did very well and it was also an excellent opportunity for the younger guys to learn about the systems in Springbok rugby. That was valuable experience. – Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids.
CAPE TOWN – Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids says the experience gained during the week building up to the Springbok Showdown will help players take their game to the next level.
Davids, coach of the Springbok Gold side that lost 25-9 to the Green team on Saturday, was speaking during the post-match press conference after the game at Newlands.
Davids also mentioned the depth of South African rugby that was displayed during the game.
“South African rugby has great depth. The experienced guys did very well and it was also an excellent opportunity for the younger guys to learn about the systems in Springbok rugby. That was valuable experience, and this week will help take them forward,” Davids said.
The two squads featured a mixture of experienced Boks and young talent, with the game itself having been a kind of national trials.
“The reason for the game was to showcase the talent and also to build experience and share information between the senior players and the younger talent,” said Davids.
It wasn’t a game the backs would have particularly enjoyed given the limited opportunities that were sent their way. Nevertheless, there were some promising performances by a number of backs, with Green scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba one of the top performers.
On the game itself, which had a slow start and resembled more a Test rugby style as opposed to an exciting display, Davids said the opposition’s strong scrummaging performance – one of their key strengths – was to be expected given the personnel they had in their side.
“We knew it was going to be tough and we knew they had some really experienced campaigners, we prepared to the best of our abilities,” Davids said.
“We weren’t surprised by their tactics. They did well at the scrum and slowed our ball down at the breakdown, which broke our continuity. I felt that we had some opportunities which we didn’t use effectively.
“If you struggle at the set-piece and you’re also behind on points, you’re going to have to play catch-up rugby and that was the flow of the game.
“We had a nervous start and I think we recovered well, but they were excellent at the scrum … It was really physical and the guys tried their best to dominate the gain line.”
Springbok Green coach Mzwandile Stick said their forward-oriented game and the box kicks were all part of the plan.
“We wanted to make it as close as possible to a Test match,” he said.
“We wanted to put pressure in the air and we didn’t want to give them time and space with ball in hand. We wanted to use our set piece and kicking game – that’s what the Springbok game is all about.”
The tactics led to three tries for the Green team with Siya Kolisi and Juarno Augustus crossing the whitewash, while they also got a penalty try.