De Villiers wants Springboks to be more direct

A lack of possession and inaccurate tactical kicking were of less concern than his team’s failure to find precision on attack, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said.

The defending champions held off a fighting Wales for a 17-16 win in their oipening Rugby World Cup match in Wellington, New Zealand on Sunday.

“As a coach you will never be satisfied with everything,” De Villiers said.

“I don’t think we stuck to our directness in the game.”

“Our first try came from being very direct and our second try too.”

“We had just reward on being direct and I think we took it too wide on some occasions without enough cleanness at the breakdowns, which they flooded.”

The Bok mentor was pleased, however, with his team’s defensive effort, with the title holders making 170 tackles in the match.

Had they been more accurate with their kicks from hand, De Villiers insisted the game plan they had in mind would have been more effective.

In the build-up to the match, Bok backline coach Dick Muir, and flyhalves Morne Steyn and Ruan Pienaar, had predicted that kicking would be difficult at Westpac Stadium, but they nonetheless stuck to their tested game plan.

“This is Wellington and you get five seasons in one day,” De Villiers said.

“Some places only get four, but kicking was very difficult yesterday.

“The wind was swirling so much and you couldn’t just put it where you wanted it.”

The few times the South Africans did hold on to the ball, they were handsomely rewarded with tries by fullback Frans Steyn and wing Francois Hougaard.

Heading into Saturday’s match against Fiji, who have a reputation for their ability on the counter attack, De Villiers insisted it was not the time to move away from their game plan, which relied on success with the boot.

He said his only focus this week would be to ensure that his players were ready for action and that any changes to their style of play could be detrimental to their tournament ambitions.

De Villiers added that he was relieved his squad had lost only two players to injury – Victor Matfield (hamstring) and Jean de Villiers (rib) – during their fiercely contested opening Pool D match.

His charges would have it relatively easy in training this week, De Villiers said, despite a narrow escape against Wales.

The Bok head coach insisted that all the hard work had been done in the build-up to the tournament.

“That is why you put the hard yards in before you come here,” he said.

“There is no way here that you can come into a scrumming fitness session or a mauling session.

“You come here with those things banked and you just maintain and trigger those sort of things.

“Training will become lighter because more is not always better.”


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