You don't always get it right, but that first half showed the potential of this team
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has made it clear South Africa won't move too much away from their establish gameplan, but prevailing conditions in Cape Town may force their hands.
This is the view of the Boks' backline coach, Ricardo Loubscher, who feels that the notoriously wet Newlands conditions may force them to go to Plan B.
Western Province and the Sharks encountered probably the worst of the winter weather in their Currie Cup encounter at the weekend and the outlook for the Boks' opening Rugby Championship encounter - with Argentina this coming Saturday - is not much brighter.
It is set to rain heavily for most of the week, with temperatures in the lower teens. The general prediction for Cape Town is that it should start clearing up from Friday. However, the forecast for Newlands - one of the more volatile suburbs in the country, with the towering Table Mountain contributing to the unstable conditions - is that it will be cold and wet on Saturday as well.
That will make playing an expansive game a near impossibility.
The Bok head coach told a recent media briefing that there were "bits and pieces" in the second Test against England where South Africa played the type of rugby he would like to see.
"It was always important to set the standard and get the game plan in place," Meyer said, adding: "We won't move too much away from that, because we don't have the luxury of a lot of time."
However, according to Loubscher, the conditions will force the Boks to reconsider their plans.
"Yes, you definitely consider the conditions... you always want to make sure there is a Plan B," the Bok backline coach said on Sunday.
"The most important aspect is for us to focus on our gameplan and ensure we execute it well. If you have to adapt, you must be able to do that."
Asked about the way WP and the Sharks struggled in the monsoon-like conditions at the weekend, Loubscher admitted they would have to consider a change in plan.
"You have to make sure you play the game in the right areas, to start off. From a kicking game perspective it is important for the guys to understand that you must play in the right areas and turn those opportunities into points."
Loubscher, like Meyer, feels the first half of SA's 36-27 win over England in the second Test back in June is the yardstick by which they would like to measure themselves.
Early pressure by the Boks, combined with some slick backline play, saw South Africa race into a 22-3 lead inside the first quarter. Early in the second half the score had moved on to 28-10, but then injuries to Patrick Lambie and Willem Alberts - combined with the Boks taking their collective feet off the gas - saw England work their way back into the game (27-31), before a late JP Pietersen try sealed the win for the Boks.
"That is the way we want to play," Loubscher said of that three-try blitz in the first quarter.
"You don't always get it right, but that first half showed the potential of this team and what we are capable of.
"The challenge for us is to put two of those halves together."
He added that one of the biggest lessons learnt from the England series was the opportunities they had on counter-attack.
"We scored a few tries [from those counters] and I am excited about it - hopefully we can maintain that.
"It is just about being accurate and making sure you use the opportunities."
Loubscher admitted that the counter-attack remained one of the most lethal weapons in the game.
"If you look at a game, you have about five scrums in the game, a few more line-outs. Out of the five you get two attacking scrums.
"That is why you must use the opportunities you get on the counter-attack. You do get the odd opportunity to do a strike move off a scrum, but it [counter-attacks] is definitely an area of focus for us."
The Boks' backline mentor said the All Blacks remain the masters of the counter.
"They [NZ] are the benchmark and it is one of the aspects we are striving towards. Whatever opportunity we get on counter-attack we must make sure we exploit it."
By Jan de Koning