Why RG wants tips from Damian and Manie
REACTION: South Africa was left to contemplate and reconsider their methodology after losing 8-13 to world No.1 Ireland in a battle of attrition in Paris at the weekend.
While the general consensus is that it was a cases of ‘lost opportunities’ for the Springboks, the men from the Emerald Isle also brought a level of intensity and determination the Boks have not experienced this year.
Seasoned lock RG Snyman described it as one of the most bruising encounters he has ever played in – a timely reminder of exactly what will be required if their are to retain their World Cup crown.
“As far as test matches go, in the 30-odd Tests I played in, that is definitely up there as a physical battle,” the 28-year-old said.
“They stuck in there,” he said of an Irish team that always seemed to find some extra in the gas tank when it looked like the Boks would take control.
Only three teams have won more turnovers that the nine Ireland did in this game, while no team has won more at the breakdown than the seven Ireland did.
Yet, the Boks felt they could have done more and the win was within their grasp.
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“Finishing our opportunities, is the biggest aspect we have to work on,” Snyman said of the 51 percent possession they had.
The towering lock used himself as an example – having been put into space by flyhalf Manie Libbok in the second half – as a crucial opportunity lost when the cover defence got hold of him.
“When us forwards make those linebreaks, we never really know what to do,” he quipped.
“I should get some tips from Damian [de Allende] or Manie [Libbok] there – maybe a step, or something like that.”
Snyman, after two years with Munster in Ireland, the Irish team didn’t bring anything ‘different’ to the party that he has not seen before.
“They just really stuck to their guns and used every opportunity they got they used.”
He added that the Boks certainly need to look after the ball a bit better.
“We need to stick to what we do and execute that better – overpower the opposition.”
As a contest between the No.1 and No.2 teams in the world, he felt it lived up to expectations.
“We definitely had a lot of opportunities we could have used a bit better, so that is what we will work on.”
He dismissed the suggestion that Ireland had more intensity and determination than South Africa.
“I don’t think there was a lack of effort on our side,” Snyman said.
“I just think we should have capitalised better on opportunities in the Irish 22.
“I guess they were just better than us.”
Fellow second row forward Eben Etzebeth also described it as a “tough and physical” Test match.
However, he felt the Boks would take plenty of lessons from the loss.
“That was like playing a play-off game,” the 31-year-old Sharks lock said.
“We have one more [pool] game left.
“We have Tonga [in Marseille this coming Sunday]. That is the main focus now and after that the knock-out starts so, I’m looking forward to that.”