Henry warns of Bok backlash

The Springboks are once again New Zealand biggest threat in the Kiwis’ quest to win their first World Cup crown in 20 years.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry, speaking at the weekend, reiterated earlier statements that the Boks would be New Zealand’s toughest opponent at the Rugby World Cup in France in September.

With the Sharks and Bulls having contested the Super 14 Final at the weekend (won 20-19 in dramatic fashion by the Bulls), many critics have spoken out about they see as the “revival” of South African rugby.

“You have to be impressed with what they have done at Super 14 level,” Henry said in an interview on allblacks.com.

“I have thought all along that South Africa might be our biggest challenge,” he said.

“That is not to lessen the potency of France or Ireland but the South Africans may prove to be a helluva good side.”

Henry didn’t think the South Africans had changed their style of play so much as improved the speed at which they did things.

“They have been keeping the ball in their hands much more. The biggest area of improvement has been their defence in comparison to other years,” he said.

“They have changed their defensive pattern. They may use both their more blitz style or the more traditional South African style,” he said.

“They have used the ball better. It will be interesting to see if that transfers to the Springbok side,” he said.


365 Digital

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