VIDEO: Is Ireland ready for the Tony Brown factor? – Ireland

It was only one game, against an under-strength and inexperienced Wales team, but the Tony Brown factor is already showing in the Springbok team.

The Boxing office team – host Hanyani Shimange, with Springbok legends Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger – judged the Boks’ 41-13 demolition of Wales at Twickenham last Saturday.

The trio – talking virtually from different holiday destinations – were excited by some of the encouraging signs they saw.

It wasn’t flawless by any means, but they had plenty to drool over.

Burger said he had picked up “bits and pieces” of the Boks’ demolition of Wales when Shimange asked him about the Brown factor.

“(The players were) closer (to each other),” the retired loose forward said, adding: “(They were) more direct and (there were) short passes.”

He said the players all looked “connected” and knew where they needed to be.

“There was one phase of play where there was an offload between Kwagga (Smith) and Pieter-Steph (du Toit), then the next and the next – keeping the ball rolling and staying on top of the ball.”

He added that making the rucks ‘more direct’ will be the next step in the Bok evolution.

(WATCH the Boks Office team assess the Tony Brown factor after his first match in charge of the Springbok attack….)

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Burger said he is excited about what the Boks can produce in the two-match series against Ireland next month.

He commented on the excitement of newcomers such as Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu and Edwill van der Merwe.

“Looking at our balance sheet, without Damian Willemse for that 6-2 split (on the bench), Sacha (Feinberg-Mngomezulu) might have walked straight to the Bok matchday 23,” Burger said.

Brown, once a regular in the All Black squad, was unveiled as one of the Boks’ new assistant coaches in January.

At any other time in New Zealand’s history, Brown might have been hailed as one of the game’s great fly halves.

But it was his misfortune to coincide his career with two consummate masters, Andrew Mehrtens and Carlos Spencer, and so for the most part he stood in their respective shadows.

Yet he still had a valuable career with Otago, the Highlanders and was a regular member of the All Black teams for three seasons, albeit mainly in a back-up role, between 1999 and 2001.

As Jamie Joseph’s coach and assistant at the Highlanders, his reputation as a bonding mastermind was cemented.


* To view the whole Boxing office episode 12visit RugbyPass TV or CLICK HERE!