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VIDEO: Is Ireland ready for the Tony Brown factor?

It was just one game, against an underpowered and inexperienced Wales team, but the Tony Brown factor can already be seen in the Springbok team.


The Boks Office team – host Hanyani Shimange, with Springbok legends Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger – assessed the Boks’ 41-13 demolition of Wales at Twickenham last Saturday.

The trio – talking virtually from various holiday destinations – were excited by some of the encouraging signs they saw.

It was not flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but they had plenty to salivate about.

Burger said he picked up ‘bits and pieces’ in the Boks’ demolition of Wales, when Shimange asked him about the Brown factor.

“[The players were] closer [to each other],” the retired loose forward said, adding: “[They were] more direct and [there were] short passes.”

He said the players all looked “linked up” and knowing where they should be.


“There was one phase of play where there was an offload between Kwagga [Smith] and Pieter-Steph [du Toit], then the next one and the next one – keeping the ball rolling and staying on top of the ball.”

He added that making the rucks ‘more direct’ will be the next part of the Bok evolution.

(WATCH as the Boks Office team assesses the Tony Brown factor after his first game in charge of the Springbok attack….)

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Burger said he is excited about what the Boks can produce in next month’s two-match series against Ireland.

He touched on the excitement brought by newcomers like Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu and Edwill van der Merwe.


“Looking at our balance, not having a Damian Willemse for that 6-2 split [on the bench], Sacha [Feinberg-Mngomezulu] might have walked straight into the Bok matchday 23,” Burger said.

Brown, at one stage a regular in the All Black squad, was unveiled as one of the Boks’ new assistant coaches back in January.

At any other period in New Zealand history, Brown may have been feted among the great flyhalves of the game.

But it was his misfortune to coincide his career with two consummate masters, Andrew Mehrtens and Carlos Spencer, and so for the most part he was in their respective shadows.

Yet he still had a worthy career with Otago, the Highlanders and for three seasons between 1999 and 2001, if mainly in a backup role, was a regular member of All Black squads.

It was as a coach and an assistant to Jamie Joseph at the Highlanders that his reputation as a mastermind of attack was cemented.


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