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Thu Apr 24 14:44:23 SAST 2014

Boks preparing for wet Newlands

TEAMtalk Media | 13 August, 2012 11:420 Comments
2012 The Castle Rugby Championship: Springboks training session
Zane Kirchner during a Springboks training session at Westerford High School on August 08, 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa
Image by: Carl Fourie / Gallo Images

South Africa backline coach Ricardo Loubscher reckons adaptation to the conditions will be critical when the Boks face Argentina on Saturday.

One week before the duo run out for their Rugby Championship opener, Western Province's game against the Sharks was hampered by heavy rain.

And that has led to media questioning how the Boks will counter such a problem should the weather take a turn for the worst on August 18.

"We have a gameplan, but if the conditions are different from what we're expecting, then we'll switch to a plan B," said Loubscher on Sunday.

"The key is to adapt to the conditions so that we are able to turn opportunities into points."

Loubscher said South Africa were expecting a very physical game from Argentina, who he feels have a backline that thrives on space and width.

"The Argentineans love to run with the ball and if they are allowed to, they can be very dangerous," he said.

"We've looked at the Pampas XV in the Vodacom Cup over the past two seasons and it gives us an idea of what to expect from their backline.

"Their Test team hasn't played too often, so we do not know too much of them as a unit.

"It looks like it could be wet at Newlands and, if that's the case, it will call for accuracy in our kicking.

"At Test level, kicking is a big part of the game and it's an area we are working hard at.

"It is not only about accuracy but also the fielding of it (the kicks)."

The Springboks will be without the injured wing JP Pietersen, who this season has established himself as one of the world's finest backline players, so that is a blow.

"JP will be a big loss but the same time it gives others a chance to establish themselves in the Bok team," he said.

"The guys in the squad view his absence as a challenge and that creates a healthy environment."

The return of Francois Steyn, after his recent wedding, will bolster South Africa though.

"Steyn is a big part of our plans and he stands out as one of the big ball carriers in the side," he continued.

"With his ability it's great having him at inside centre but he's happy to play wherever he's needed.

"I'm happier to have Jean (de Villiers) at outside centre because it's likely that by the time he gets the ball, he'll have space and time.

"It's also good to have a leader out wide."

Much has been said about the average form of fly-half Morne Steyn after the England Tests but Loubscher said he was still a highly-rated player who would return to his best.

"I've worked with Morne for the past few years and I know what he has to offer," he said.

"His excellent distribution skills was in evidence against England and he had a hand in some of the tries we scored.

"We'll soon see Morne at his best again."

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Boks preparing for wet Newlands

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