'They definitely train it' - Pollard on illegal Aussie tactic that thwarted Boks
Springboks flyhalf Handre Pollard claims the Wallabies trained an illegal interference tactic that thwarted the kicking game that has become synonymous with this South African team.
The world champion Springboks were beaten for the second time in a row by the Wallabies on the weekend, leaving Jacques Nienaber and his players to face the wrath of the South African media. Critics – both inside and outside the Rainbow Nation – have turned their guns on the men in green and gold, just six weeks after the Boks sent the Lions home with their tails between their legs.
Their ultra pragmatic kicking game and conservative, defensive tactics have been widely pilloried outside South Africa and have come a cropper in back-to-back losses against Australia.
Following Saturday’s game in Brisbane, Pollard suggested that the Australians used illegal off-the-ball tactics – ie placing players between the South African kicker and the kick chasers – to disrupt their game plan.
“They are very street smart,” Pollard said. “They definitely train it and the referees don’t see everything. If referees pick it up now and then, great. We do prep the refs on that as well.
“It’s very difficult to see a lot of stuff off the ball with the refs focusing on the ball and breakdown. They’re good at it. They do it very well and they get away with it 90 per cent of the time.
“We don’t do that. We don’t coach that and we don’t play the game that way but it’s not a problem if they want to do it. We should handle it.”
Pollard also batted back the suggestions that the Springboks’ attitude was wrong after they missed so many one on one tackles against the Wallabies (19 of their 69 tackles or roughly 30 per cent of all attempts).
“No. [It is] definitely not an attitude problem. The guys pitched up.
“If every guys misses one tackle, that’s 23 missed tackles. It happens. It [19 missed tackles] is not good enough. It is not our standard.
“However, there is no attitude problem.” said Pollard, who admitted the Wallabies did a “brilliant job” in terms of analysing South Africa.
“They had good plans in place, which we also did. They just executed it better. Both sides came with their strategies and whatever they did, they just did it better than what we did.
“It is small margins in Test rugby, but those small margins can quickly turn into a 17-30 loss.
“We knew what was coming, but we just didn’t execute our plan well enough and we were not clinical enough.”
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