Springbok centre Damian de Allende said on Tuesday that the team needs to cut out the “stupid” stuff on Saturday if they are to beat Ireland at Ellis Park and stay alive in the three-Test series.
A tactically naïve Springbok team went down 26-20 to a 14-man Ireland side last weekend in Cape Town, playing frankly dumb rugby that saw them frenetically just try to throw the ball out wide without drawing the defence or worrying about what area of the field they were playing from. De Allende said they have learnt their lesson from that debacle.
“We need to fix a lot of things this week, especially our execution out wide. We need to use the inside balls as well, but we tried to force it outside all the time and go too early. We want to get the ball wide but we mustn’t be stupid about it.
“It’s about decision-making, when to keep the ball and when not to, you need to play in the right areas. We played too much in our own half, sometimes you need to put the ball in the space behind the defence and put your opponents under pressure,” De Allende said after training on Tuesday.
The Springboks only cut through the Irish defensive line seven times at Newlands, two times fewer than Ireland managed even though they were understandably defence-orientated after being reduced to 14 men for the last hour. De Allende said the Springboks were still focusing on targeting space better.
“There aren’t major changes to our game plan with Allister Coetzee as the new coach, we still want to play with the South African mentality of being physical, but we also want to recognise the space on the outside and not just try to go over people,” De Allende said.
The 24-year-old, who earned his 14th cap in Cape Town, admitted that he is currently out of form having missed most of the SuperRugby season due to injury.
“It’s been difficult, I’m still struggling for a bit of confidence and it’s been very tough coming back from injury, I didn’t think it would be this tough. But I hope in the next few weeks that I will be back to my form of last year.
“The key for me is to be looking up and to be aware of the space, give the players on the outside even better space and bring the forwards into the game more as well. We all need to make a statement after last week and the best way to do that is to increase our line speed. That’s the new key nowadays, to attack the space quicker and it went a lot better for me today on the training field,” De Allende said.