New Zealand's latest defeat by South Africa boiled down to poor execution and not a flaw in tactics, according to their coach Graham Henry.
DURBAN // New Zealand's latest defeat by South Africa boiled down to poor execution and not a flaw in tactics, according to their coach Graham Henry. The All Blacks employed a high-risk strategy of "attack from anywhere" against the Springboks in Durban on Saturday, and the policy backfired as they were crushed 31-19.
Henry, who came under fire after the Tri Nations loss, defended the plan to run the ball from every-where and instead blamed the players for not delivering. The All Blacks turned over possession or conceded penalties, which were punished by Springbok fly-half Morne Steyn, who kicked eight and scored a try and a conversion in his Tri Nations record tally of 31 points. "We tried to play a certain game and just didn't execute as well as we had hoped, which is a sign of the pressure we were under," Henry said.
"Decision-making is the key and when you don't have a lot of ball, you try to create something with whatever you have.. "But it was the right style against this team, even though some of it was pretty high-risk," he added. Henry said he hoped Australia could halt the world champions South Africa's march in Cape Town next weekend before the trans-Tasman foes lock horns again in Sydney on August 22.
"It is always a challenge when you are relying on other sides to produce the right result I would imagine," he added. "But we have got three games to go and we just have to be positive. South Africa top the standings after winning their first two games, but coach Peter de Villiers said the outcome of the competition was far from over. "We've only won two games, there are still four to go. But the platform is there. Next week [against Australia in Cape Town] will be a different kettle of fish and we start again on zero."
He added he was fortunate to have such rich pickings at his disposal when it came to selection. Steyn was a replacement for the injured Ruan Pienaar, making his second start in his fifth Test, while centre Jean de Villiers and wing Bryan Habana played their 50th tests and captain John Smit led the team for a world record 60th time. "I'm blessed to have these type of players. You can't buy 60 Tests as captain in any shop and it was impossible to tell if Morne Steyn had three caps or 30 caps," he added.
It is the first time since the end of isolation in 1992 that the Boks have won two successive games in South Africa against the All Blacks * With agencies