SA is not the best in the world in any area of the game
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has a five-point plan he believes will ensure South Africa obtains the No.1 ranking in the world, with the breakdown top of his list of priorities.
Speaking at the conclusion of day two of his first national training camp of the year, Meyer said this is the best he has ever been prepared for a team.
He has already made a presentation to the board of the South African Rugby Union on how to solve the Boks' breakdown blues.
"We have looked at the stats and South Africa is not the best in the world in any area [of the game] at this stage," Meyer said.
"I know the World Cup is always a 50/50 situation, but I feel if you want to be the best team in the world year in and year out there are at least five areas in which you need to be the best in the world."
Having dispatched his assistant coaches to the various South African Super Rugby franchises, Meyer has already seen a marked improvement on the defensive front.
"The reason the Cheetahs are playing better rugby - they have always been brilliant at attacking - is because suddenly they are winning games by two or three points through defence," Meyer said.
"A lot of the coaches must get credit for that [improved] defensive efforts.
"I have also seen some good attacking play.
"We have worked on some things with the franchises where we want to improve our attack and there has been a few great tries. All the teams, at certain stages, have played great rugby.
"I just believe, and it has been a big focus with the franchises, we need to get our breakdown sorted.
"In the past we were brilliant at the breakdown - we always had big guys, but our technique has gone behind [other countries]. If we can get our breakdown sorted, I really believe our attack will get better. If we get quick ball, we have big players and great backs, we will be destroying teams with our attack.
"We have seen that coming through in certain games."
He said that "in due course" he will set out his five critical areas for this year.
"We have plans in place for every single area," Meyer told a media scrum, adding: "From that point of view we are much better prepared.
"Last year this time most of my assistants were still coaching in Super Rugby. Now we had three, four months where we went through every single breakdown, every single thing we've done before."
Meyer reiterated that South Africa are "way behind" the rest of the world and there needs to be a huge focus on the breakdown.
"We have looked at every aspect and I believe we have never been this [well] prepared for any team I have coached before.
"It is now a matter of getting that across to the players."
Meyer said they will use the internet to send information to the players.
"Even before this camp we already sent stuff to them," he said, adding: "We are busy with many initiatives to get information to the players that will save us time.
"Last year many of the assistants were mostly at the Bulls and players were hesitant to open up to them. Now the players are also much more open.
"We had one-on-ones with all the players and all the coaches and they are sharing more information with the other [assistant] coaches. We are in a much better place at this sage, but we still have to put it into action and win that first Test - then we can get momentum from there on."
He said there are a few "interesting" things they looked at and want to try.
"I am quite positive that we will play some great rugby this year as well."
Brought back to his plan of action for the addressing the breakdown issue, Meyer said he has already done a presentation to the SARU board and have a few plans of action in place.
"We are going to have a huge drive towards the breakdown and one or two areas later.
"They [the SARU board] haven't made a final decision on that, but I am quite excited that we will fix the breakdown and soon [we] will be the best in the world at the breakdown.
"There is a plan worked out for the breakdown in the franchises with the coaching staff and maybe one or two consultants as well."
By Jan de Koning