The McLook rugby collection

A personal collection that tells the story of Springbok rugby

First tri-nations test 2011 – South Africa / Australia

This incident happens early in the match and was one of the first turnovers of many which resulted from the Aussie two-on-one-tackling-approach. Notice how the two Aussie centers work in a pair on Juan de Jongh in this clip. 

The first tackler goes in on the chest just below the ball driving in and upwards, lifting and turning the ball carrier at the same time. The second tackler goes in on the ball. 

The job of the second tackler is to either get his hands on the ball -while staying upright- or to dislodge the ball. He don't need to steal the ball; if he dislodge the ball causing it to spill forward out of the opponents hands then it is turnover ball.


This first Australian try was the result of two mistakes by South Africa. First mistake was John Smit getting isolated and the poor supportive play of the Springboks at the tackle area. 

Notice the Aussies working in pairs at the tackle. The first tackler goes in on the ball/chest and lifts and turns the ball carrier. The second tackler then goes in on the ball. The result was that Smit had difficulty placing the ball and the ball spilled forward. 

Once the ball spilled free the Aussies first intention is the move the ball away from the contact area.  

The try, however, resulted from Ruan Pienaar rushing up in defence and breaking up the defensive line. This allowed Quade Cooper to slip through the ensuing gap.


This try was the result of poor defence. Genia picked the ball up from the ruck which formed after the kick-off and basically ran around Kruger and CJ. The problem here was that Kruger, CJ and Smit -on the outside- were not in a line.  

Kruger needs to take position a little wider in that situation to force the ball carrier on his inside. He also needs to stay in line with CJ and the player on his outside in this case Smit. The biggest culprit here was Smit which rushed-up and away from Kruger.  

When Genia weaved in CJ's direction Smit rushed forward and was not only past Genia when the latter went for the outside break but also had his back turned on Genia. Smit need to stay behind or at least level with the man on his inside in that situation. Notice also the poor 'high' tackle attempt by Morné Steyn on Digby Ioane at the end. Digby had no problems in pushing him away. A tackle to the knees could have prevented a try here. Gio Aplon also missed a tackle on Ioane.


This incident happened in the 33rd minute. It’s a two-on-one tackle on Ashley Johnston. Notice how they tackle him in the first place behind the advantage line but notice the two tacklers working together. First tackler goes in on the chest driving up while lifting and turning the ball carrier. The second tackler goes for the ball. Very similar to the tackle on Juan de Jongh in the first clip.


One of the big problems for the Springboks in this test was the fact that they lost the battle at the breakdown. In this clip they attempt three times unsuccessfully to ruck the ball up in order to suck defenders in.  

The problem is they got stopped every time before the advantage line and then had to attempt a second time to establish forward momentum. This slows down the ball and allows the defenders to re-align. They get stopped because they are to slow when they take the ball up. The most successful one of the three is Flip van der Merwe because he runs with more speed into the ball than the next two.  

Flip van der Merwe takes the ball up first and is reasonable effective in getting across the advantage line but a defender gets his hands on the ball and slows down the recycling. By the time John Smit get the ball he is to flat and is standing still. The defensive line has re-aligned and Smit is halted way behind the advantage line. He then had to puts in more effort and on second attempt established some forward momentum but it's too late the line have regrouped. The ball then goes to Ashley Johnston with two rear supporters; a typical pod. He receives the ball standing still and again is stopped way behind the advantage line.  

The recycled 'back-foot-ball' is the distributed to the backline and Wynand Olivier is stopped even further behind the line and we lose the ball.


Here is another example of how the Springboks lost the battle at the breakdowns. We get rucked off the ball but it is again the Aussie tackling technique which causes this.  

Flip v/d Merwe takes the ball up with the first Aussie defender again tackling in and upwards on his chest lifting and turning him at the same time. The second tackler is a bit late but Flip falls awkward with the ball under his hip. Springboks can't get their hands on the ball and the Aussies counter ruck force the bridger (Kruger) off the ball mostly because Kruger is to upright in his bridge position.


Spilling the ball in contact was another big problem for South Africa in this test match. In this clip Danie Rossouw lose the ball in the tackle. This was caused by; one, the Aussies tackling approach and; two Rossouw not lifting the ball above the tackle. 

Rossouw try to keep the ball low so that he can duck under the tackle probably an attempt to counter the tackling method of the Aussies (of coming from low driving upwards while lifting and turning the opponent). Kefu the tackler, however, hits in above the ball on his arms still driving upwards and turning him at the same time. This cause the ball to dislodge out of Rossouw's hands.


This is a planned move that went wrong. Pienaar flips the ball inside alla Carlos Spencer without looking but John Smit is too slow and spills the ball forward. High risk rugby in a field position too far away from the goal line to produce any results. Dumb rugby; even if the move came off Smit would have gained no more than 5 or 6 meters.


Another Pienaar flip that went astray; this time leading to a try for the opposition.  

You're behind on the scoreboard and then you play high risk rugby like this? Maybe it was a case of we are going to lose anyway so let’s try stuff. Again I am not sure -considering the position on the field- that the probable pay-out justifies the risk.


Another pass to the enemy this time by Smit. The Springboks was clearly trying to speed the game up and start to slip quick passes. This one is caught by a lazy Australian runner. 

Clearly if you want to speed up your game then the whole team need to step up in urgency in how they do things and that included the supportive runners.  

My impression from this is that the Springboks are not used to playing a faster game and when they try too do things at a faster pace mistakes like this creep into their game. 

Hopefully they'll recognise the need for everyone to step up in urgency and persist with it and not go the other way namely getting too scared to try things and go back to conservative safe rugby.


It is the delayed pass to Stephen Moore that produce this try, I believe. The Wallabies set it up first with the centre McCabe coming in on an angle taking the ball from Cooper.  

They then recycle quickly and Genia delay's his pass forcing Kankowski to commit to tackling him but it also cause Ashley Johnston to rush-up towards Moore angling sideways.  

Moore, however, step off his right foot into the ball the moment Genia releases it and that creates an inside angle taking him past Johnston. 

Basic skills but done with confidence and at pace.


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