- They felt like they were chasing ghosts in the first 20 minutes of their 35-20 loss to the All Blacks in Oakland on Saturday, said Springbok rep Steven Ketschoff.
- The Boks trailed 17-0 in the first 16 minutes and 20-3 at halftime, bridges that were too far for them in the 80 minutes.
- Kitshoff said they need to devise ways to stop the All Black starting machine at their next outings at Twickenham next month.
Springbok prop Steven Ketchoff said it felt like they were chasing ghosts in the first 20 minutes of their 35-20 loss to the All Blacks in Oakland on Saturday.
The Boks are used to dealing with fast starts and giving up points early before fighting back in the second half.
It pays off against most opposition, but the All Blacks have generally landed sloppy hits that don’t allow the Boks to recover.
The early implosion of Mount Smart Stadium was one of those games where the All Blacks got the Boks first bit and eventually used that buffer to keep them at bay.
At 17-0 in the first 16 minutes and 20-3 in the first half, it was always hard for the Boks to fight back.
Ketschoff said they need to find ways to stop the All Blacks’ rapid start when they meet again at Twickenham late next month in what will be their final preparations before the World Cup.
“A lot of things stuck for them in the first 20 minutes with the dump and the way they played a little touchy pop,” Ketschoff said.
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“Everything stopped and we felt like we were chasing ghosts for the first 20 minutes.
“When the Springboks make a dominant tackle and put them on the ground, there is an opportunity to realign our defensive system.
“The uploads stopped and the way they moved the ball, everything got stuck, and they played a great opening pass of the game.
“It’s something we have to look at and see, especially before the Twickenham test where we can look for solutions in terms of slowing the ball down and preventing them from playing at that very high tempo.”
Kitschoff admitted the result was a wake-up call, particularly in terms of how they contained and handled Australia after they also got off to a fast start.
“It’s always like this when you lose a game, the first words you get are like a wake-up call,” Ketschoff said.
“We are trying to play a certain style and brand of rugby that we have worked on during the pre-season as we have established at Tshwane.
“If we can control those early attempts and not make as many mistakes as necessary, I think it will be a different game.
“It’s a little bit of a wake-up call and we have to understand that Australia was a tough game, but when you come to New Zealand and play against a very strong black team, it’s going to be a tough game.”