Tactical Talk: The Springbok Attacking Focus

The Springbok Attacking Focus

Week in and week out we go to bed bitterly disappointed with another lacklustre Springbok performance. The blame has been pointed at everything under the sun from political interference to poor coaching at schools. A while back, I read an interesting article on ‘The aggregation of marginal gains’ which essentially is getting a result from a whole bunch of small little changes and mini results.

To say we need big changes is an understatement but what I do know is that small little things on a rugby field will change the course of many things, but also change players’ perceptions and swing momentum.

Small things like breaking the gain line or forcing the defence into little errors. Little things like 3 points here and there, which to Coetzee seemed to be a surprise at what sort of feeling he had when the Boks were ‘all of a sudden’ 9 points down at the Aviva.

During our ‘Bok Management’ meeting on The Pundits’ WhatsApp group this morning, a number of things were mentioned and I want to highlight just 2 areas, on attack, that we can use to start the ball rolling…

Options off the ball carrier:

I am talking specifically the big crash ball runners (which we have and use in abundance ) and there are 2 additional tactics and by no means secret tactics we need to adopt. One being an under 11 coaching drill called Diamond attack and the other is having a Plus 1 runner.

  • Diamond Attack

Simply put, the ball carrier has options to use inside, outside and behind him. These can all be used before contact or in contact offloads and the back runner can be used after contact whilst all players are there to clear rucks and provide quick ball if need be

  • Plus 1

This is again widely known and used and is a slight hybrid on the Diamond attack. Defences are so used to our 1 off ball carrier, they double team us most of the time. To gain collision dominance we often add a player behind the ball carrier to push and drive him a little further.

In this play, the runners set up as is and once the defence is committed, the back player drops off slightly to take a neat pop pass and attacks the space virtually on the outside shoulder of one of the defenders

Width on Attack:

This is more focussed on the backs but let’s be honest, it should be the case almost every attack especially ones that progress past the 10 channel.

Width is important as it forces the defence to make decisions in areas that they will hopefully plug the gaps, thus opening gaps elsewhere.

Sadly, when we do get this right we do not have realistic options as attackers, they are either running too flat, or deep, and generally out of position.

A ‘dummy’ runner is the worst term in rugby history. These runners should be realistic and viable options, this forces the defence to make decisions and therefore errors will come. As we try to force them into mistakes with pressure, they do the same on defence and right now in the Springbok attacking play over the last few years…the defenders are winning.

That’s our thoughts on what the Springboks can do to bolster their attacking chances this weekend – feel free to add your tips in the comments below.

Enjoy Saturday 😉
– Judge

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