Jeremy Guscott has labelled South Africa as “one-trick ponies”, citing their emphasis on physically dominating their opponents.
It’s no secret that the Springboks employ a physical gameplan, as their 2019 Rugby World Cup victory against England was largely down to winning collisions and dominating at scrum time.
Guscott, who played a crucial role in the Lions test series victory against the Springboks in 1997, was speaking on The Good, The Bad and The Rugby podcast and argued that if the tourists can match South Africa’s physicality they will win the series.
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‘It’s a good trick, but it’s fallible.’
“They are one trick … it’s a good trick, but it’s fallible. Once you meet it, they’ve got nowhere to go – absolutely nowhere to go. So, we did it in ’97, and where did they go?” Guscott said.
“OK, they scored some tries in the second test, but they had nowhere to go. Today they’ll have nowhere to go because they’re not the greatest passers in midfield.
“They’ve got some excellent [outside backs]. Cheslin Kolbe is awesome [but] Willie le Roux is getting a bit old. He’s vulnerable mentally, and if he drops a couple of high balls, he’ll go missing for the rest of the game.
“You meet fire with fire… If you win the collisions against South Africa, I’d pretty much guarantee that you’ll win. If they don’t win the collisions, they won’t win the test series. It is a very good one-trick pony.”
Concerns over the Springboks’ preparations for the Lions.
While South Africa’s power game proved to be enough to win the World Cup in 2019, the Springboks haven’t had many opportunities to experience test-match intensity since that tournament.
The world champions have only played one test match in the last 20 months, which came against Georgia eight days ago, and after a covid outbreak in their camp the scheduled second test against the Georgians was cancelled.
The Springboks have no more games scheduled before their first test against the Lions, although head coach Jacques Nienaber may look to give some of his more senior players game time in South Africa A’s game against the tourists.
The game between South Africa A and the Lions is set to go ahead this Wednesday, although that may be switched to Saturday if the Springboks are still struggling with covid cases within their camp.