Rugby Championship: Springboks star Handrè Pollard backs the team’s ‘unorthodox’ gameplan ahead of second All Blacks test

All Blacks prepare for second test against South Africa. Video /

Springboks first-five Handrè Pollard says he trusts the team’s gameplan ahead of their second test against the All Blacks and believes South Africa are the “best in the world” at the aerial contest.

The reigning world champions fell to a last-gasp 19-17 defeat against the All Blacks last weekend in a game where South Africa kicked 20 times more than New Zealand.

The Springboks clearly came into the test in Townsville with the intention to put the All Blacks backs under pressure with high kicks and were successful at large periods of the game, paying off early in the first half for the side’s only try when George Bridge dropped an uncontested high ball near his try line.

However, their gameplan has also been criticised by many as boring and not in the “best interests of the game”, while their insistence on sticking with the strategy to kick the ball deep in All Blacks territory even when chasing the game in the dying stages was also questioned.

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi doubled down on the strategy after the game, saying kicking is in the team’s “DNA” and Pollard reiterated that message this week.

“We have a specific DNA that we believe we are the best at,” Pollard said.

“We trust our processes and we trust our plan.

“Of course, it is a bit different to do stuff like that but that was the plan we had for last week’s test match and the boys stuck to it very well.

“When it comes to the aerial contest, we think we are the best in the world and that is something we work hard on.

“I think we will keep doing it because we trust our process and we trust our plan. It is a bit unorthodox I guess, but we believe in it.”

South Africa's Handre Pollard kicks the ball against the All Blacks. Photo / AP
South Africa’s Handre Pollard kicks the ball against the All Blacks. Photo / AP

The loss to the All Blacks was the Springboks’ third in a row and meant the Rugby Championship title was secured by New Zealand.

But despite their recent run of defeats, Pollard said the team’s confidence hasn’t been dented.

“You would think losing a couple on the road will dent your confidence, but we just have so much belief in the process and we get confidence from preparation and we get confidence from each other,” he said.

“We don’t really look back at results even if we won the previous week. We just put all our energy and focus into our plan, which gives us confidence.

“I think the boys have been brilliant. Yes, we have lost a few on the trot but with the intent, the energy and the preparation, you still try to train exactly the same.

“The results are just not going our way, but we will give our everything on Saturday.”

The All Blacks take on the Springboks at Cbus Super Stadium in the Gold Coast at 11.05pm on Saturday.


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Publish date : 2021-09-30 20:11:55

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