Blues coach: SA teams must stick to their strengths

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:05

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Blues assistant coach Steve Jackson believes South African teams should stop trying to emulate their New Zealand counterparts on the field of play. Warren Fortune reports.

Jackson, who was speaking to reporters at his team's base in Cape Town ahead of their Super Rugby Round 13 clash against the Stormers, described New Zealand's players as a "different kettle of fish" to others around the world, which allowed them to play an attractive and successful brand rugby. 

There is a lot of truth to Jackson's words as New Zealand's franchises have dominated Super Rugby for the last few seasons and so far the Stormers are the only non-New Zealand side to beat a NZ team this year after their 34-26 victory over the Chiefs in April.

However, it all went downhill from there for the Cape side when they lost their next four games which included heavy defeats to the Crusaders, Highlanders and the Hurricanes in New Zealand.

"I think their [Stormers] skillset has changed a bit," said Jackson. "They are chancing their arm with the offload when passing the ball, but they still have not gone away from their maul and that is something they will be looking forward to doing against us."

Jackson added: I just think that if South African teams keep playing the style that they want to play, with their big forwards and guys that get go forward ball - and if they able to play off the back of that - I think they will get some gain there. 

"I know there is a lot of talk about the teams trying to emulate what New Zealand teams do, but I think we are a different kettle of fish than most places and I think you just have to work to your strengths and that is what we do back home. 

"Our strengths are that we have a lot of flair and we got a lot of guys that come through our system that can deliver that for us and we play to that."

Jackson, who takes care of the forwards in the Blues camp, is expecting a physical onslaught up front at Newlands, but he is also aware of what the Stormers' backs are capable of if they get good ball. 

"Your sides like to be physical up front and we expect that week in and week out. Don't get me wrong, when we finish those games against these [South African] teams, our forward pack is pretty sore. We got a job to do, we got to front up physically because if we don't we will be on the back foot all day.

"They [Stormers] got some exciting backs. Their outside backs have with a lot of speed and flair. But again, it is just about forward packs creating opportunities for the backlines and when you can do that and open some space then it is up to your key drivers to be able to get the ball there.

"Most teams get too excited about playing the New Zealand way. I just think South African teams, with their born and bred big men, should just keep playing up front," said Jackson.

By Warren Fortune
@FortuneWarren
@rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 18h35 Sixways
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 18h35 Kingston Park
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Leinster v Edinburgh 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Connacht 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 30 September 2017
Griquas v Free State Cheetahs 12h00 Kimberley
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 13h00 Welford Road
Munster v Cardiff Blues 13h30 Thomond Park
Cheetahs v Ospreys 14h00 Bloemfontein
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Bath 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 14h35 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Bloemfontein
Dragons v Kings 18h35 Rodney Parade
Sun, 01 October 2017
Argentina v New Zealand 22h30 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Blue Bulls v Western Province 12h30 Loftus Versfeld
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28