When North meets South: The Battle of the Generals
Eddies Jones is hailed as a master mind in the world of rugby and a man who was a key assistant in Jake White’s campaign in winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Also known as the man who orchestrated Japan’s win over South Africa in the 2015 World Cup.
However, in the South is Rassie Erasmus, a man who is equally as tactical and could arguably be more, and this more is his innovativeness and ability to adapt. The proof is in the game that occurred this Saturday. A final that decided once again, that the Southern Hemisphere is the dominant force of rugby.
Despite losing their first game against the All Blacks, the Springboks played England today as if all Rassie Erasmus’ pieces fell into place in the 18 months since taking the helm (Shorter than Eddie Jones, who took his coaching positions 4 years prior) as the Springbok coach.
The Winning Strategy:
- Play the game on your opponent’s half, increasing you chance of scoring points by putting them under pressure.
The Winning Tactics:
- Strong set pieces, a strong scrum and a strong line out as a bases of attack.
- The scrum to dominate, forcing penalties which can be converted to 3 points by kicking for polls.
- Line outs to establish unstoppable mauls and then scoring tries off the mauls or putting the needed pressure for penalties.
- All the above is backed by accurate kicks, to force the opposition to play on they half. And, is a strong defence as you may not have your opponent run back at you.
We can go into details with the above, and is nothing new of South African Rugby, however, Rassie’s genius came in with what usually lacks in South African rugby, variation in the above and that was displayed by a strong dominant scrum in first few minutes of the game, at one point the forwards were linking up with the back line in an expansive play. Something that led the English in disarray and then the Springboks resumed to their conservative game plan. With mounting pressure, the English finally gave in and South Africa went into 5th gear, scoring two tries as they put the nails to the coffin.
England played a similar game, but they appeared nervous with handling mistakes, which they rectified. But there set pieces were not on par with the Springboks.