'Smarter' Boks to front Wallabies and All Blacks
INSIDE THE BOK CAMP: The Springboks have to be smarter during the remainder of their Rugby Championship campaign, warns Damian Willemse.
The 23-year-old Willemse, who earned his 12th Test cap in the Springboks’ second match against Argentina in Port Elizabeth almost two weeks ago, knows all too well the importance of the next four weeks.
The Springboks are coming from a British and Irish Lions series win and two victories over Argentina at the start of the Rugby Championship.
However, despite the winning run, Willemse has urged his team to be more clinical and smarter – as they face a different challenge in the form of Australia and New Zealand.
The 2019 Rugby Championship winners and current World Cup champions have a huge target on their back, as the Trans-Tasman brothers will be out to prove themselves against the world’s best.
The Wallabies and All blacks face off in their third and final Bledisloe Cup clash in Perth on Sunday – which is also a Round Two Rugby Championship fixture – before Australia take on the Boks on the Gold Coast next Sunday.
“Aphelele [Fassi] and I were talking about how small the margins are,” Willemse said at a media briefing.
“If you do make a mistake, even just a small one, it will be five or seven points against you, especially against teams like Australia and New Zealand, who have a lot of skilful players in their backline.
“It is all about playing clever and smart against good opposition. It is about not making as many errors from the back and by the key decision-makers.”
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The Springboks are known to rely on their forward-based game plan to win Test matches.
Most of the time the game plan does not favour the backline.
However, the utility back Willemse revealed they have a clear strategy when it comes to utilizing their potent backline – which boasts world-class wings Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi, along with fullback Willie Le Roux.
“We have a specific plan of how we want to win Test matches, especially for us as fullbacks,” Willemse said.
“When you look at Willie [le Roux] and the way he is managing the play. There is a certain plan that we have and want to achieve, and force pressure and force the turnover for our brilliant wings like Makazole and Cheslin to score their tries,”
The Springboks will face Wallabies in back-to-back Tests on September 12 and 19 before the big clashes against All Blacks on September 25 and October 2.