Coaches question All Blacks’ plan in giving away penalties

SPRINGBOK assistant coaches Ricardo Loubscher and John McFarland have subtly accused the All Blacks of giving away soft penalties when under pressure at critical times during last Saturday’s 20-18 World Cup semifinal loss to the All Blacks at Twickenham.

The Boks scored 18 points from the boot and never once seriously threatened the All Blacks’ line.

In the quarterfinal against Wales, they scored one try off the back of scrum in the 75th minute.

But, according to the Bok coaches, the side failed against New Zealand because they could not achieve enough territory and possession from which to launch.

And when they did gain territory, New Zealand preferred to give away penalties.

“We actually had six set pieces in their half, four lineouts and two scrums,” McFarland said.

“In the two scrums we pushed them backwards and they gave away two penalties.

“The yellow card for Jerome Kaino actually came through one of them.

“And at two of the lineouts they gave away penalties, so in four of our six set pieces they gave us 12 points instead of allowing us to build pressure.

“Also, in the grey area around the halfway line, we lost lineout ball, so we never really got into their half.

“When we did, they gave us 12 points. You can only play what they give you.

“I also have a question mark over Dan Carter’s drop goal when they were down to 14 men. That gave them hope, but I’m not sure how the ball got to him.”

A closer study of the video shows Richie McCaw losing the ball to Tendai Mtawarira, who loses it forward.

Aaron Smith scooped it up and passed to Carter who nailed a superb drop-goal.

It proved the difference in the final score.

But the coaches conceded the Boks also let themselves down at times through a combination of their own mistakes and All Black pressure.

“The All Blacks deserve some credit because they came up with a plan,” McFarland said.

“They took the ball through four or five phases and then kicked it out, or behind us.

“Normally they would keep it in play. All their restarts were clever because they kicked them on Willie le Roux and he was under pressure, which took one of our clearing kickers out the game.

“If I had the time again, maybe we should have worked harder on exiting out of our own half because they were clever.”

Loubscher added: “Their kicking game was good and put us under massive pressure with attacking kicks.

“They put the ball in behind us a lot and they also put a lot of high bombs on us.

“In the first half, we handled that well, but not so well in the second half.”

Flyhalf Handré Pollard said the All Blacks had turned the Boks’ usual gameplan back on them.

“They played a ‘suffocated-strangle’ game, which is the game we tried to play,” Pollard said.

“The quality side that they are, they adapted well and kept us under pressure.

“But even so, we could have still won that game.”

Coach Heyneke Meyer will name his team to face Argentina in the third-fourth playoff at Olympic Park on Friday.

“There is a need for the players to be focused and turn up for this game,” McFarland said.

“It’s our last test of the year and I’m excited.

“It’s not the final, which we hoped for, but for us third would be acceptable.”

-Craig Ray

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