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The Peter de Villiers column: Springbok fans should be worried about Franco Smith

Franco Smith, Cheetahs, Springboks
Peter de Villiers, rugby, columnist
By Peter de Villiers Rugby columnist
In his second Monday column for KweséSports, former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers looks at what Franco Smith will (or won’t) bring as a permanent member of the national coaching staff …

It seems like the Cheetahs, coached by Springbok assistant-coach Franco Smith, have forgotten that the tactical kick is still an integral part of setting up the platform from which you can create attack.


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The one-dimensional way in which they tried – without success – to bridge the Jaguares’ defence during their 41-14 loss by running every ball made them extremely predictable. The team frustrated themselves, and in doing so their Argentinian opponents played off their mistakes.

 The Jaguares have a flat defence, so you have to create doubt in their minds by varying your play. It’s good to try and keep possession, but it’s what you do with the ball that counts. Like a team playing a forward-orientated game, or a team that kicks everything, running every ball makes it easy to defend against.

This should be of some concern for South African rugby fans, because Cheetahs head coach Franco Smith is our country’s new attack coach. And if it is tough for him to understand this, how on earth will he be able to improve the Springboks’ attack?

You have to question the make-up of the new Springbok management, especially with Brendan Venter (who has been assisting the Italian team as defence coach) expected to also come in.

ALSO READ: Smith hails SA franchises

Incumbent Bok coach Allister Coetzee commanded the Stormers to play less with ball in hand because he believed, after working with 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White, that defence wins games. So, wouldn’t Jake have been a better option for him? At least the team would then be on the same page …

Why do we underestimate teams?

Meanwhile, the other Super Rugby matches featuring South African teams leave me to question the mental capacity of our players.

Did the professional era dawn on us without taking the time to change our amateur approach, and was it sugar-coated by focusing on remuneration and working hours without a fitting curriculum?

For the second week in a row, I believe, one of our leading teams allowed itself to prepare for a team and not a game.

How did the Sharks get to a point where they panicked in the closing stages of a game at home against the Southern Kings (which they eventually won 19-17)? It happened to the Cheetahs when they played against the Sunwolves as well.

Lions lead the way, again …

The Lions, though, didn’t make that mistake when they made the Reds look like a visiting schools team on the way to thrashing them 44-14. This pack of Lions, hunting together, left a trail of destruction.

ALSO READ: Super Rugby set to undergo changes

What is so great about this team is that there is so much room for improvement. They play with great tempo, more than any other South African team. When they get on the front foot they are really hard to stop.

 The Bulls, though, still have many problems to sort out. Yes, they beat the Sunwolves 34-21 at Loftus, the less said about this encounter – during which Renaldo Bothma was sent off – the better.

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