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Bok assistant responds to All Blacks' complaints on aerial contest

SPOTLIGHT: Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids praised his team’s fearlessness in the aerial battles in their 26-10 win over the All Blacks in Round One of the Rugby Championship.


The Boks kept the All Blacks under pressure will high balls and committed chasers, which is one of the cornerstones of Jacques Nienaber’s game plan.

However, the All Blacks were not happy with South Africa’s tactics and they made a point of using the Kurt-Lee Arendse incident as an example

Arendse, who scored the first try in the Springboks’ win in Mbombela, fouled All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett when he jumped to catch a kick in the 75th minute, leading to both players being injured and forced to retire. Australian referee Angus Gardner gave Arendse a red card before the wing was stretchered off the field while Barrett was able to walk to the touchline.

Barrett injured his neck in the incident and faces a fitness test before New Zealand coach Ian Foster names his team on Thursday for the second match against South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday. Arendse received a four-game ban for the incident

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster questioned the Bok tactics after the game by saying: โ€œWeโ€™re going to have a look at them chucking bodies in the air, we were pretty frustrated with that. The one in the first half we werenโ€™t very happy with, and certainly the last one, was very dangerous.”

On Monday, Davids, who is South Africa’s forwards coach, had his say on the matter.


“It is interesting,” he said. “I think we know that the aerial contest is a very important part of our game and I must commend our players for the fearlessness they showed when they competed for the ball in the air.

“Looking back at the previous games there was a step up in execution from us in that area and because we kick contestable kicks there will always be a contest in the air.

“Players like Kurt-Lee [Arendse] and [Makazole] Mapimpi were outstanding in terms of going up for the high ball.

“I think there might be one or two cases where the judgement was maybe wrong, but nothing was done intentionally to put us or the opponents in a difficult position.”

Set-piece dominance

Another area where the Boks excelled in was the set-pieces, but Davids wants an even better performance against their old foes in Round Two at Ellis Park.


โ€œWe are pleased in general with how we executed our set pieces in the last match, but we set high standards for ourselves, and we always look critically at our performance and how we can improve,” said Davids.

โ€œWe lost two line-outs out of 16 and given our high standards we want to be better this weekend.โ€


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