SA reject criticism of tactics; add three players to squad

Springboks forward coach Deon Davids spoke to media on Monday, rejecting claims their conservative tactics were negative. The Boks camp also confirmed three players were added to squad: Rosko Specman, Dan du Preez and Johan Grobbelaar; after Jaden Hendrikse, Duane Vermeulen were called up.

Last Updated: 02/08/21 1:59pm

The Springboks media address on Monday was less controversial than in previous weeks
The Springboks media address on Monday was less controversial than in previous weeks

South Africa have responded to criticism of their conservative tactics by insisting they do not get the credit their success deserves, while also confirming they have added three more players to the squad. 

The Springboks beat the British and Irish Lions 27-9 at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday to take the series to a decider, but the second Test was an ugly spectacle dominated by brutal forward exchanges and kicking.

Each half lasted over an hour due to incessant stoppages, the sluggish pace a result of the officials reviewing a host of decisions and the world champions’ ability to dictate the speed of the game.

New Zealand coach Ian Foster is among those unimpressed, saying the match “put me to sleep” and the rivals are “almost afraid to play”, while even former Springboks boss Peter de Villiers described the national side as “very, very, boring”.

But South Africa forwards coach Deon Davids denies their suffocating gameplan is a bad advert for the game.

“No, not at all. It’s a spectacle. I think it’s fantastic. Rugby has always been about a physical battle on-field, but also a battle where opponents try to outsmart each other, whether that’s on or off-field,” Davids said.

Springboks forwards coach Deon Davids has rejected criticism of the side's tactics
Springboks forwards coach Deon Davids has rejected criticism of the side’s tactics

“The competitiveness and talent shown by both teams on-field – it’s good for world rugby. And if we can continue being competitive at this level and aspire to be better, then rugby in South Africa will just get better.

“The same narrative was there when the Boks won the 2019 Championship. The same thing was there when they won the World Cup. It’s still the same narrative.

“It’s surprising that the effectiveness of this in terms of getting good results is not seen. There’s always a plan behind everything.

“When we execute stuff, it’s not about being boring, it’s about understanding what we want to achieve.

“By doing that we’ve created enough opportunities to be able to play with the ball in hand and score tries.

“I believe in our approach and what it leads us to. We will just get better in terms of what we’re doing.”

Wing Rosko Specman, loose-forward Dan du Preez and uncapped hooker Johan Grobbelaar are the latest additions after the Boks called on rookie scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse and experienced No 8 Duane Vermeulen over the weekend.

Duane Vermeulen was called up to the squad over the weekend, with three more names added on Monday
Duane Vermeulen was called up to the squad over the weekend, with three more names added on Monday

They hope to have the latter available for the Lions clash in Cape Town on Saturday after he has spent the past two months out with an ankle injury.

Du Preez has been brought in as cover for flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit, who injured his shoulder early in the second Test win over the Lions this weekend.

Unsurprisingly given their emphatic victory, Davids added South Africa were “quite happy” with how the second Test was refereed.

That verdict marks a significant departure from the build-up when director of rugby Rassie Erasmus released an extraordinary hour-long video critiquing the officials’ performance from a week earlier that could yet be punished by World Rugby.

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Highlights of the second Test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions from Cape Town
Highlights of the second Test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions from Cape Town

The Springboks were spared any disciplinary fallout from Saturday’s grudge match, despite Cheslin Kolbe’s challenge on Conor Murray appearing to be a red-card offence.

Only Lions prop Kyle Sinckler has been cited for an alleged biting incident.

“We’re quite satisfied with the process that was followed and that was put into action between the coaching staff and World Rugby,” Davids said.

“Whatever decision they take, we will trust that process and will abide by that going forward. Whatever happens in the game, there is a thorough process.”

Vermeulen will train with the Springboks on Monday afternoon in a bid to prove he has recovered from an ankle injury in time for Tuesday’s team announcement.

Source : Sky Sports