Byrne: It's Wallaby brain versus Bok brawn

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 13:28

INTERVIEW: Australian skills coach Mick Byrne believes that the Wallabies will have to bring their best skills to the party if they are to beat the Springboks.

South Africa host Australia in a Round Five Rugby Championship clash in Pretoria on Saturday.

Byrne knows exactly what skill-sets are required at the top level of the game, having won back-to-back World Cups as part of the All Blacks coaching group - in 2011 and 2015.

Byrne has only been part of the Wallabies coaching set-up since the end of July, after signing a four-year contract with the Australian Rugby Union.

However, in his short time working with the players, Byrne has been impressed with the progress made on the playing field - especially in their most recent Test match against Argentina, which saw the Wallabies win 36-20 victory in Perth).

"I think the skills are part of the training that they do," Byrne said.

"If you look at a couple of the tries that were scored, they were really well-executed set-piece tries and of course inside that is the skill-set.

"First and foremost the players have the understanding of the roles they have within those moves and then the skill-set backs it up.

"I think it's a combination of a great game plan, as well as a good skill-set within that as well," he added.

Turning his attention to the game against the Springboks on Saturday, Bryne added that the Wallabies will be required to do the basics right and protect the ball against a 'desperate' Springbok team.

"I think we would like to go about our game plan like we've trained - keep the ball in hand, build some phases and build some pressure against the opposition.

"It's really important this week that we hang onto the ball against what's going to be a really desperate Springbok team," said Byrne.

South Africa have recently been criticised for their lack of basic skills with the ball in hand.

However, the Wallaby assistant believes that the Boks are not lacking in the skills department.

"I think they've got a great skill-set, you've got your Lions players there," he said, adding: "There's no one who's questioning their skill-sets."

Byrne added that the Springboks have been under pressure to play some expansive, winning rugby, which has forced them into making errors.

"I'm not sure that it's about skills.

"I think sometimes the challenge is - when you get a little bit desperate - you try too hard and I think that we just got to make sure that we are really up for the start of this game, because we know there is real talent across that team," said Byrne.

By Josh Isaacson
@isaacson_j
@rugby365com

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