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Springboks great hints at tactical shake-up against All Blacks

By Sam Smith

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Springboks legend Joel Stransky believes South Africa could surprise the All Blacks with a tactical shake-up for their final Rugby Championship clash on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

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The Springboks will look to close out their meek Rugby Championship campaign with a shock victory over the All Blacks at Cbus Super Stadium on the back of three straight defeats at the hands of the New Zealanders and the Wallabies.

South Africa’s poor run of form has largely been attributed to their negative tactics, with their ultra-conservative playing style against the All Blacks in Townsville being the focal point of discussion in the lead-up to this week’s rematch.

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Jordie Barrett gave the All Blacks’ backfield confidence with his performance | Helathspan Elite Performer of the Week
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Jordie Barrett gave the All Blacks’ backfield confidence with his performance | Helathspan Elite Performer of the Week

The reigning world champions have relied heavily on a kick-first mentality, which has been the source of plenty of criticism, as has their bid to slow play down as much as possible whenever the ball goes out of play.

However, Stranksy, the former Springboks first-five who kicked South Africa to their first World Cup title in 1995, has suggested Jacques Neinaber’s side could spring a tactical surprise in their rematch against the All Blacks.

“I think there is a chance, because right now there’s nothing to lose, there’s everything to win,” Stransky told Newstalk ZB.

“There’s reputation at stake, we’re no longer the number-one ranked in the world but we’re still Rugby World Cup champions.

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“We surprised England in that World Cup final by playing a bit differently to the way we played in the semis and the quarters and I’m hopeful that that’s what we’ll see this week.

“That they’ll come out and just say, ‘Play what’s in front of you, you don’t have to run every ball, you don’t have to run when it’s not on but… play our kicking game, play our power first-phase game, kick it to the corners but when it’s on, have a go’.

“Let’s free up some of those skills and those talents out wide. There’s loads of pace out there, there’s loads of exciting players and let’s let them have a go.”

Stransky added that the South Africa’s backline players, particularly second-five Damian de Allende, could pose plenty of threats for the All Blacks if they are given the chance to shine with ball in hand.

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“He’s still a great player,” Stransky said of de Allende, whose contributions have been nullified as the likes of halves duo Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard continually put boot to ball.

“He’s probably the best passer in that team yet we don’t see him pass anymore, we don’t see anyone pass in that team.

“You’ve got him at 12, you’ve got Lukhanyo Am at 13 who runs great lines – wants to play, wants to attack, also a skilful passer, great reader of the game – he’s become more renowned as a rush defender and captain of the defensive effort than an attacking player.

“Then there’s great pace out wide and Willie le Roux… when there’s a bit of space for him to run into, he too is a great attacking back. So whatever you say about de Allende, you can probably say about the whole back line.”

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Springboks great hints at tactical shake-up against All Blacks

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