On a disappointing night time in Cork, after a dire show from South Africa’s “A” facet, there was one shining mild in Sharks scrumhalf Grant Williams, writes Mark Keohane.
SA “A” conceded 4 tries within the first half to lose 28-14 to Munster. It’s 80 minutes each South African supporter will actually really feel they’ll by no means get again, but when there was one constructive to take from a recreation in any other case not price even dissecting, it was that Grant Williams has proven once more that he must be backed in Springbok colors.
When the Boks lastly backed Jaden Hendrikse to start out, there was a notable distinction of their attacking vitality, with the half-a-second further time on the ball that Hendrikse’s service allowed. Hendrikse was an enormous enchancment on the notoriously sluggish passing of Faf de Klerk, however the scrumhalf with the quickest service in South African rugby in the mean time is Grant Williams.
Faf de Klerk was completely suited to the 2019 Springbok staff, whose pack dominated each set piece and allowed him to drop bomb after bomb on the opposition again three. That has not fairly been the case during the last 12 months, and the Bok set piece – particularly the lineout and the maul – has been a shadow of its earlier presence. As has De Klerk, whose sluggish fashion of play has confirmed expensive and predictable.
Entrusting Damian Willemse at 10 is making a press release of intent and accepting that the Springboks will probably be taking part in a distinct fashion of rugby. Think about how Willemse would thrive off the type of supply that Williams may give him from the bottom of the ruck.
What has develop into very obvious is that after storming onto the scene previous to the 2019 World Cup and making a number of good cameo appearances right here and there, Herschel Jantjies simply is less than scratch anymore. He hasn’t been for the Stormers and he most definitely was not for the Springboks final 12 months or SA “A” final night time. Jantjies’ kicking recreation has confirmed extra an asset to the opposition than an attacking weapon for his personal staff, and his decision-making stays erratic.
The Boks have picked Faf de Klerk to start out towards France this weekend, and what we are able to anticipate – as soon as once more – is a reasonably one-dimensional strategy, that’s now not suited to this present Springbok staff. There appears to be a weird lack of foresight within the decision-making of the Springbok administration, and the place steps had been taken in the appropriate path by backing Willemse and Hendrikse as a mix, there’s an instantaneous regression to conservative outdated methods as quickly as stress placed on them by a loss.
Grant Williams must be in that Springbok facet. He possesses such a dynamic, quick fashion of play at scrumhalf, and is equally snug on the wing – a vital consideration for a Bok staff that wants a back-up kicker on the bench extra so than an additional exterior again (given Willemse can play fullback too).
The Springboks’ lack of domination at set-piece is an actual concern, however what’s extra regarding is the shortcoming to situationally adapt. The Bok coaches proceed to select a staff that performs a direct, confrontational and conservative fashion of rugby, however then are discovered scrambling when that strategy doesn’t work and these gamers are anticipated to attempt to play expansively and rating tries come the second half.
Willemse will not be a flyhalf who sits deep within the pocket and slowly strikes a staff ahead by potting long-range territorial punts, so he wants a scrumhalf intent on taking part in to his fluid, elusive fashion. Hendrikse has begun to supply him that, however Grant Williams is the best way ahead if the Springboks are severe about embracing a stylistic change to their backline’s assault.
Watch: Zels and my predictions for Saturday’s conflict
— SA Rugby journal (@SARugbymag) November 10, 2022