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The ‘slow poison’ that Rassie Erasmus loved about his Springboks

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus (centte back) celebrates after winger Cheslin Kolbe (unseen) scored against Ireland (Photo by Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images)

Rassie Erasmus has insisted that his 50th-minute decision to send on all six replacement forwards in one substitution in Pretoria wasn’t a negative reaction to how the Springboks had been playing until that point against Ireland.

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Only Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kwagga Smith from the starting pack remained on the field with the match delicately poised at 13-8 in favour of the home at Loftus Versfeld.

Gerhard Steenekamp, Malcolm Marx, Vincent Koch, Salmaan Moerat, RG Snyman and Marco van Staden were all introduced off the bench, replacing Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert and skipper Siya Kolisi and the sight of six players going on and coming off at the same time ignited a huge cheer in the home support.

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Andy Farrell talks about the tour and Rassie’s social media posts

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Andy Farrell talks about the tour and Rassie’s social media posts

It took a while for the so-called bomb squad to make its impact felt in the 27-20 success, but the power it generated in a 77th-minute scrum five metres out from the line buckled the Irish pack and led to referee Luke Pearce running to the posts to award a penalty try and yellow card hooker Ronan Kelleher.

Asked if he was unhappy with starting forwards he took off, Erasmus said: “No. We really loved what we were seeing. We always struggle in the lineouts against Ireland, and I thought the starting pack was brilliant. I thought Siya was brilliant but it doesn’t help you pick a six-two.

“Ireland is a team that when your tight forwards gets tired, they exploit that really well and I thought that last pushover scrum was a testament that it does work poisoningly when they got those injuries with the hooker and so on.

“I don’t think it is risky if you leave two guys on the bench but it certainly lifts the pack of forwards. We could maybe have left Siya play on a little bit more but then we also want to grow the squad as well.

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“A guy like Sacha (Feinberg-Mngomezulu) experiencing the No2 team in the world and what they bring the intensity, I thought he did well the last nine, eight minutes. Salmaan (Moerat) jumping against guys like the Irish have. It’s tough to say we are trying to build squad depth while trying to win Test matches. Overall, goal achieved but definitely far from perfect.”

With Tony Brown now the attack coach, Kolisi was seen in the wider channels looking to run onto the attacking ball. Having the captain increase his ball-carrying is a tactic the Springboks want to nurture.

“I have known Siya since he was 18,” continued Erasmus. “We don’t play with an openside flanker and a blindside flanker. He has always been a great runner of the ball and I think we under-utilised him there.

“At the moment Siya has a specific role, he does it really well. And Pieter-Steph, he has always been solid for us the last two, three, five years. But again that ball has to go through a pack of forwards getting ball out with Ireland really contesting well at the breakdowns and then it has to go through 10 and 12’s hands to get to them eventually.

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“It will change from game to game and Ireland will work out what we tried to do tonight and they will work out what we tried to do tonight. It’s certainly something we hope would come off.”

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10 Comments
r
rory 3 days ago

What pleases one is the respect for each other in the comment section. Ireland have been on top of their game for a few years now and it was a real pity that the Boks could not meet them in the WC final.
Although Boks Vs ABs is as good as it gets.
Interesting to see the development and evolving regarding the SA backs and looking forward to see how it plays out come the rugby championships. Somehow I think the Boks will still like to keep it tight.
The try Murray scored as the pod attacked from the halfway line was sublime. The Boks can expect more of this with variations. James Lowe always such a stalwart who gives100% every match must have had a dreadful night. Poor man. Hopefully we see a proper test with limited mistakes, each team playing to it's strengths and no card ot TMO interference

T
Turlough 5 days ago

“Rassie Erasmus has insisted that his 50th-minute decision to send on all six replacement forwards in one substitution in Pretoria wasn’t a negative reaction to how the Springboks had been playing until that point against Ireland.”

SA played a running game and their management underestimated how much that would affect them. SA threw the kitchen sink at Ireland and had only a 5 point lead and hadn’t scored for almost 40 mins. SA were the superior team but it was a pretty serious misjudgement and if Ireland had kept the errors down at the end it may have gone wrong for SA.

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