….and 4 of the wins were against teams we expect to beat with ease, Scotland, Argentina and Georgia. Meaning we were really 4/5 against meaningful opponents….and 3 of these 4 wins were by 5 points or less.
We are making heavy weather of every meaningful test, despite what could only be described as dominance in scrums and mauls. Partly I think because our defence has dropped a few notches as Nienaber has had to expand his focus in the top job.
But one can’t help but feel it is our complete inability to use the ball that leaves us at a 61.5% win ratio.
We need a backline coach….big time. But we also need players who can express themselves. Faf, Pollard and Dud Allende look like robots out there. Willie looks half the player he was. These players could probably do better with more enlightened coaching. But they themselves should be pushing the boundaries.
We see opposition forwards offload tellingly. Why can’t our centres do so much more often vs dying with the ball. Is it the player or the coaching. I suspect the latter.
There has been some progress. Our scrum is now a weapon and the threat our tight forwards present at the breakdown is unique. No need to lose these skills. But we have to be able to use the ball and the tired old excuse that there is no space to do so has been blown up in 7 days by Ireland, England and France.
What role Harrassmiss can play in all this is unclear. The lack of growth in our skills suggests he has shot his bolt, deployed everything he knows. Eddie is a coach who grows with adversity. My guess is Harrassmiss will just double down on what got us in this fix.
No doubt last year’s chicken run hurt our efforts this year and Berrygate distracted the team and marginalized Nienaber. But this coaching team needs a breath of fresh air….let Nienaber fly on his own and get us the best backline coach we can find. Otherwise France may be another off WC for the Boks.