The Springboks are determined not to dwell on past officiating injustices as they prepare for another crunch Rugby Championship encounter against Australia in Brisbane this Saturday.
Last weekend’s narrow 28-26 loss did not tell the full story of the match, and so the Boks want to set the record straight at the Suncorp Stadium.
World Rugby is pretty clear these days: if you scrum an opponent of the ball you get the penalty. The Springboks base their entire game plan around pushing opponents off the ball. And, in that respect, the players and the coaches are experts.
However, what they can’t control is how the referee interprets the scrums.
Referees in the past have proven to be less than the best judges of the scrum, and it costs teams dearly when that happens.
Deon Davids, the Boks’ forwards coach, believes it could all be as simple as what angle and picture the referee is looking at as the basis for their judgment.
“The set pieces are a very important part of our game, talking about scrums and you know, scrums is an area which is very difficult to officiate and the important thing for us looking back is that we just need to make sure that there is alignment between the pictures that we see as coaches and the pictures that the referees have seen, so that going forward, we understand how we have to interpret and what are the areas we have to work on.”
Technical matters aside! Getting beaten by an opponent when you outscore them three tries to one, and seemingly impose yourself at will, is the sort of scenario that has stopped previous Springbok teams dead in their tracks.
One of the hardest workers in the team, Franco Mostert, the versatile second or back-rower, says this Bok side has the coping skills to understand where they went wrong, how to fix it, and how to handle the bounce of the ball.
“It still stays a rugby game. The ball can bounce anywhere. Sometimes your plans don’t work, sometimes your plans do work and unfortunately, the ball didn’t bounce our way credit to Australia. I think they were a bit hungrier than us, but we will work hard this week regroup and hopefully we can come back stronger.”
Being able to shake off what amounts to a bad day at the office – and not let it get you – is the mark of the good teams. The world champions have the opportunity on Saturday to forge ahead and prove why they are at the top of their game.