Underfire Springboks plan to unsettle mighty Rugby Championship-chasing All Blacks
South Africa have won just one of three games in the competition, while New Zealand could claim the title with a bonus point victory in Christchurch
South African skipper Adriaan Strauss has dismissed strident criticism of his underperforming side as he revealed a plan to unsettle New Zealand when they clash in Christchurch on Saturday.
Another runaway victory for the unbeaten All Blacks could see them sew up the Rugby Championship with two rounds to spare while the Springboks, with only one win from three games, need a miraculous recovery to stay in contention.
The Springboks’ woeful record, less than a year after they were only a whisker away from beating the All Blacks in the World Cup semi-finals, has brought a scathing reaction from their home media and fans.
Veteran South African rugby scribe Mark Keohane said the Springbok coaches were “out of their depth” and the team was getting worse with each match.
Watch: Australia 23 South Africa 17
“This is a poor Springbok side, not well coached and not particularly well led,” Keohane said.
But Strauss shrugged off the criticism and said it was not universal as the Springboks go through a rebuilding phase.
“The info that I get is quite positive and people support us, but I also know there is a lot of criticism and it’s part of the game it’s part of the transition process,” he said.
Strauss intends stepping away from test rugby at the end of this year, at the relatively young age of 30 for a hooker, but said it was part of the rebuild.
“We’ve got a long term plan but we don’t want to sacrifice any games getting there. We want to win every single test match that we play,” he said.
Strauss said they had taken note of how Argentina matched the New Zealand for 50 minutes last week.
And the visitors had also reviewed their World Cup semi-final in which the All Blacks sneaked home 20-18 before beating Australia 34-17 in the final.
“We definitely have had a look at the past and we learn from that,” Strauss said.
“When the All Blacks get into their stride and play the type of rugby they want to it’s a very difficult team to stop.
“If you do unsettle them it makes a good battle on the day and that’s something we’re going to have to do, unsettle them and not let them dictate the game.”
Watch: New Zealand 57 Argentina 22