All Blacks star on why Boks are not one-trick ponies
SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks veteran Sam Whitelock says there is much more to the current Springboks squad than just a forward-orientated game.
The All Blacks are in South Africa for their opening Rugby Championship games. They face the Boks in Nelspruit this Saturday before they meet again a week later in Johannesburg.
Ian Foster’s side will be expecting a massive physical onslaught with the Springboks set to use their big forward pack to try and lay a platform for victory.
However, Whitelock believes his team will shoot themselves in the foot if they go into the game thinking the Boks are one-trick ponies.
“They will definitely play to their strengths as they always do,” Whitelock told reporters on Monday.
“But in saying that you never want to go in there and think that you have their game plan in your head.
“They are smart guys and they have a number of players that play around the world, so they have a few different styles they can go to.
“We have to make sure that we stop their plan A and then if they change it, then we need to stop that as well.
“That’s the beauty of rugby. You have to go out there and sometimes you know how they are going to play and stopping it is the major one.
“That is the cool challenge about playing South Africa.”
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South Africa’s big weapon
Whitelock revealed that there were major discussions on driving mauls since their 1-2 series defeat to Ireland in July.
It is a weapon that the Springboks love to use, and Ireland used it to good effect as well, especially in the series decider against New Zealand in Wellington.
“We know there are areas that we need to be better in,” said Whitelock.
“Conceding a couple of maul tries is an obvious one.
“As a tight forward, that is a key area I am focussing on. As a team, especially the forward pack, we are looking at that.
“That is the main thing we have talked about so far.
“We haven’t had a lot of chances to get on the field [in South Africa], but we will get a chance in the next couple of days.”