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Ex-Springbok coach pooh-poohs calls for Scott Robertson to help Bok attack

By Chris Jones
Scott Robertson, the All Black number 8 is tackled by De Wet Barry at the ABSA King's Park Stadium, Durban in 2002. (Photo by Dave Rogers/Getty Images)

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Ex-Springbok attack coach Swys de Bruin does not believe the reigning champions need a consultant like New Zealand’s Scott Robertson to help retain the Rugby World Cup in France next year.

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Critics claims the Springboks have to broaden their kick based style to defend the trophy under head coach Jacques Nienaber but de Bruin told Sport24: “With the way the Boks play, I don’t think they will need to add an attack consultant ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France.

“Jacques must be the best defence coach in the world but he has also stepped up very well into the head coach role. Jacques has a different personality and is a typical left-brain kind of thinker. He’s very thorough in terms of what he does and will work a lot on what stats tell him.

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“He backs his system and what he believes in defence, second to none. Jacques is very good and Rassie (Erasmus) wouldn’t have given him that job if he didn’t believe he was really the best.

“There have been some suggestions in the media that the Boks would be well-served adding a consultant to their coaching set-up to freshen up ahead of the World Cup. In a SARugby poll, Scott Robertson topped the vote. However, if I can be honest with you I wouldn’t even consider that route.

“Robertson is doing very well and is sitting there with the cream of the crop. He is doing nicely in a very settled franchise but I wouldn’t look for any foreigners in our situation at this stage. Foreign coaches bring fresh ideas at the right places but what the Boks are doing now is very good.”

The former attack coach also had fulsome praise for South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus who has just completed is ban for a video attack on match officials during the British and Irish Lions series and backs his former boss to help Nienaber.

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He added: “Rassie will know how to handle that and who to bring in and who not to as he is a master of that. I can tell you one thing for nothing, Rassie is a rugby genius. He has a feel before stuff happens and to me that is a true mark of a real visionary. He has foresight in the game.

“I must say in the last couple of Tests I found that the Springboks discovered a better blend between kicking and running. However, if I was still part of the Bok management team I would encourage them to attack and run much more than they are currently doing.

“For me, it isn’t a case of not kicking but rather how you kick. I believe you’ve got to kick for two reasons: to get the ball back and to apply heavy pressure. I don’t always enjoy when the Boks make it a 50/50 contest and don’t play (with ball-in-hand) in their half. Having said that, playing off number nine more than 10 is part of our DNA and with the team profile we have that is 100%.

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“The Boks have number nines who can give a good box kick, wings who are sound under the high ball and very strong forwards. The Springboks play off nine because it’s a lower-risk game and is closer to the rucks.

“They don’t focus on that area but instead turnover and counter-attack. I must say I worked a lot on counter-attack during my time there – it was one of my main focus points – and it was very pleasing for me to see that when the pressure was up, they counter-attacked well.

“There is a system they follow, which we started in 2018, and it revolves around how to get your loose forwards and hookers in the trams. If you get the turn-over, it can be a very dangerous weapon if you train that.”

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