Bok style needs 'freshening up'

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 21:19

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Springbok game plan was in need of some 'freshening up', backline coach Franco Smith said.

Speaking at the first of three national training camps, in Johannesburg, Smith said it was encouraging to see that all the Super Rugby franchises are now singing from the same hymn sheet.

The 41-man squad got together in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The Boks start their 2017 season in June when they host France in a three-Test series.

"We want to up-skill the players," Smith said, when questioned about the goals and purposes of these Bok training camps.

"The way we have been playing needs to freshen up a little bit, not just the Bok coaching staff but also the franchises," he told the media gathering.

He felt all the South African franchises now play a good 'ball-in-hand' game - although there remains plenty of room for improvement.

However, the Boks will not be running the ball willy-nilly.

"When we get closer to the Tests, we will decide up to what level have we improved. We will decide what type of player will be selected and adapt the game plan accordingly," Smith said.

"At least we are heading in a direction where everybody can play a ball-in-hand brand."

Smith was drafted into the Springbok coaching staff for the European tour last November and he was last week confirmed as the Springbok backline and attack coach, whilst continuing in his role as Cheetahs head coach.
 
Smith spoke of the need to put the Springboks first, but felt it will not impact on his position at the Cheetahs.

"I will serve both parties to the best of my ability," he said, adding: "Rugby is a vehicle through which you can change people's lives.

"It's an unbelievable honour to be involved with the Springboks in this capacity, but I know that honour comes a huge responsibility.
 
"Personally, it will be an interesting challenge but it is not something that is unique because it has be done before, while some of the other international teams are doing the same currently.
 
"The fact that I will be in the frontline, coaching throughout the year, will be of benefit to me though and will no doubt help me to grow as a coach," Smith added.

On Sunday the 41 squad members, including five Young Guns, gathered in Johannesburg.

Following their flush-out session on Sunday afternoon all the players underwent medical check-ups and then attended a meeting to discuss the 2017 season.
 
Uzair Cassiem, Retshegofaditswe Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Lodewyk de Jager, Jaco Kriel, Rudy Paige, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Sergeal Petersen, Damian de Allende and Jean-Luc du Plessis did not train on Monday as a result of injuries.

The Lions players left the camp on Monday afternoon, as they are due to fly to Argentina on Tuesday for their Super Rugby fixture against the Jaguares on Saturday, while the rest of the players will return to their different home provinces on Tuesday.

The camp ends with a closed training session on Tuesday morning.
 
According to Smith, the benefits of the recent coaching indabas are already noticeable.
 
"The cooperation [between franchise and Springbok coaches] that we saw during those meetings is something that we can be proud of.

"As a franchise coach myself, we all know the national team comes first and we want to contribute towards the success of the Springboks."