SA sides and the offload

Forum » Rugby » SA sides and the offload

Apr 27, 2022, 12:23

The offload - that thing of beauty defined as that moment when a player passes the ball to a teammate while being tackled - once was the domain of the New Zealanders in Super Rugby, but no more.

For years South African audiences sat in awe as local sides were accused of playing boring rugby and a 10-man strategy. For years the teams locally used their forwards and all the highlight reels wanted to show was audacious offloads by New Zealand players.

But in this year’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship the tables have turned. For once, this thing of beauty is truly South African.

For once, local sides have embraced the offload and are getting dividends from it.

It may be more than a mindshift, it was a complete revolution among local URC sides as they embraced the opportunity - especially on South African fields - to utilise the skills they have and to find the gaps.

And the results, particularly for the sides close to the top of the table, speak for themselves.

Just this weekend we saw offloads from Ruan Nortje, whose giraffe-like runs make a mockery of the “engine room” tag that often goes with the taller men in the team.

On Saturday a back-flip offload put Cyle Brink over for the Bulls and man, it was beautiful.Warrick Gelant’s offload for the Stormers this weekend deserved a highlights reel of its own.

Aphelele Fassi’s weekend special to put Jaden Hendrikse away was a 'wow' moment and they’re getting all the more regular as the competition goes on.

From the Tshituka brothers to Hacjivah Dayimani for the Stormers, from Burger Odendaal’s offload on Saturday against Connacht to so many others, South African players are doing their best to demolish the boring tag with which overseas teams have tried so hard to label them.

It is wonderful to watch, and brings about some of the best play in the URC to date, so much so that it could easily be argued that they can go head to head with some of the Super Rugby Kiwi teams and the outcome wouldn’t be such a one-sided argument.

The URC may be building as a competition, but who would have thought the Stormers and Bulls would be the top two sides in a 16-team competition in the offloads stat.

Think about that for a moment. The Bulls top the offloads stat in URC Rugby and the Stormers are just behind them.

Individually it’s the same. The top offloader in the URC is a forward.

Again, take a moment and smile. Marcell Coetzee - who by some strange coincidence is not in Springbok reckoning at the moment - tops the offload stats for the entire competition and he is in good company.

Madosh Tambwe, Damian Willemse and Odendaal all are in the top 10 of the competition stats. Lionel Mapoe, Wandisile Simelane and Seabelo Senatla join them in the top 20. And while South African fans are enjoying this festival of offloads, it must be a scary prospect for overseas teams.

For years they have preached the gospel of a big pack and little else for the South African teams. Play them wide and run them off their feet - the big men will tire.

But what we’ve seen in the past six weeks is overseas teams slowing the game down, being injured at every stoppage and playing the delaying tactics to keep themselves from running out of steam.So sit back and enjoy this montage. It's offload heaven, and it's South African stars driving it.

Apr 27, 2022, 15:53

But will this happen at the national level. Even last November lowly Scotland out offloaded us 10 to 5. Can Harrassmiss let go of his security blanket and allow his players to ‘look for’ the offload.

I have my doubts

Apr 27, 2022, 19:14

Risk management isn offload's all about tbe numbers. 

Apr 27, 2022, 22:39

Ja oh Rassie is so kak the guy knows fuck all he just managed to win us a WC, a RC and a Lions series but let’s just point fingers at him and tell the world how kak he is


Apr 28, 2022, 00:28

Fact….his team doesn’t offload.




1 He feels offloading doesn’t work in a crash ball/reset/box kick style.

2 He has tried desperately to coach offloading into his team and has failed because he either can’t explain it or his team is too dumb to get it.


I favor option 1, he doesn’t offload because he simply doesn’t rate the tactic.


We can offload till we are blue in the face playing ourselves, but we won’t offload under Harrassmiss.



Apr 28, 2022, 00:37

That is nonsense as the Bok side does offload - evidenced by that brilliant offload by Am that lead to the DA try against NZ

The notion that we don’t play attacking rugby or offload is utter rubbish

We scored more tries, beat more defenders and made more line breaks than any other side in the WC - how do you do that not playing attacking rugby

We played it conservatively against the Lions as we had not played rugby since the WC final

We played more attacking rugby in the RC and even more so on the EOYT

That without Rassie on board for 5 of the tests of which we lost 4

Apr 28, 2022, 03:44

39% / 43%Possession 1H/2H61% / 57%
51% / 31%Territory 1H/2H49% / 69%
9Clean Breaks1
19Defenders Beaten6
42 / 44 (95%)Rucks Won67 / 73 (91%)
3 / 4 (75%)Mauls Won10 / 11 (90%)
9Turnovers Conceded12

Apr 28, 2022, 03:46

39% / 43%Possession 1H/2H61% / 57%
51% / 31%Territory 1H/2H49% / 69%
9Clean Breaks1
19Defenders Beaten6
42 / 44 (95%)Rucks Won67 / 73 (91%)
3 / 4 (75%)Mauls Won10 / 11 (90%)
9Turnovers Conceded12

Apr 28, 2022, 03:46


56% / 40%Possession 1H/2H44% / 60%
52% / 58%Territory 1H/2H48% / 42%
4Clean Breaks2
25Defenders Beaten15
64 / 70 (91%)Rucks Won55 / 59 (93%)
6 / 6 (100%)Mauls Won5 / 5 (100%)
24Turnovers Conceded

Apr 28, 2022, 03:48

As usual Dave you are just blustering….we offloaded a fraction of the amount our opposition in the RC did,

Apr 28, 2022, 04:01

Here’s the clincher, when we crushed the Bargies 29 to 10…….they offloaded 7 times to our 1. Aren’t you embarrassed?

You claim we play attacking rugby. We don’t. We do score tries mostly on turnover ball and rolling mauls after penalties near the opposition line. Tries comes as a result of the pressure we apply. 

I wish we could add some modern attacking rugby to the basics which we have rediscovered. I was vocal about the need to find those basics again…..little thinking we would abandon attacking rugby in the process. I want both….not one or the other.

But to think there isn’t an issue is delusional.

Apr 28, 2022, 09:54

Attacking rugby is not defined by the offload

The Boks score tries in exactly the same way other test sides do

The notion that we only play boring conservative rugby is absolute rubbish

Apr 28, 2022, 13:24

The bulls are the team that offload the most, and their top person with the most off loads is Marcel Coetzee. 

It is correct, Rassie hates the off load game, it requires more skill, Rassie have build a very simple approach, play off your 9 and use your big forwards to wrap around the corner and built pressure. If anything, he selects players like Kolbe that can feed off turn overs and attack. That is how Kolbe got his try in the world cup. Then, you have to look at some of the useless quota players that he has to select, a off load game would expose him. So it is about rucks hit, aggressive defence and kicking the ball away to create pressure. But, NZ, Aus and Eng exposed us last year. All they need to do is just tire out our rush defence, manage the kicks better and meet us up front. 

I had the same issue under snorre and Jake White, coaches stick with what they know and that has brought success but too afraid to try something. We need to be able to work on our attack, get the other team to chase. 

Yes, it looks good on the scoreboard, but doesn't really help

Apr 28, 2022, 15:20

Very good assessment Corn. I’d add one thing,  if the other top teams get to scrum neutrality we would struggle. So many of these close games have been won through scrum penalties which we either converted into penalty points or used to set up the maul near the line.

Our scrumming dominance is largely taken for granted, but we have had nothing like our current scrum in all the years since readmission.

Apr 28, 2022, 15:41

Agreed our style has been exposed last year and if we come with the same style this year, we will be beaten....the blue print of our gameplan is now common Knowledge for the other top tier teams....Rassie must come with more dimensions to our game and new player selection to back that up. 

Apr 28, 2022, 16:58

" All they need to do is just tire out our rush defence, manage the kicks better and meet us up front. 

Easy to say, not all that easy to do...this is nothing new, it's always been that way with the Boks, some Bok teams are just better than it than others...the current team being particularly good at it.

Apr 28, 2022, 21:28

What a load of utter rubbish - we have brilliant backs, amongst the best in the game

This crap that we don’t use them is laughable - how do Kolbe and Mapimpi have the test scoring strike rates they do if we are not playing attacking rugby?

Let me guess - they join the maul and flop over the line

The rugby ignorance on here is pretty alarming

It’s true we have a dominant pack but equally we have a lethal halfback pair in Faf and Pollard, we have the best centre pair in the game in DA and Am and they don’t come better out wide than Kolb, Mapimpi and Willie

Apr 28, 2022, 22:40

We have the players, but our game plan is low risk grinding the opposition to a pulp before running them dizzy with our nimble backs...only subtle changes to the match strategy now and again...and we are good at executing our game plan...Wales will struggle here...

Apr 29, 2022, 03:33

This year we start by playing Wales at home…..walk-in the park. Then amazingly the ABs agreed to play us at Nelspruit and Ellis Park. We finally play an away game against the Bargies, but then again in SA. 

So in the RC we play 3 games at home…..1 away….and we don’t play Oz at all. If we don’t win this one it will be cause for alarm.

We won’t know where we are until the YE tour, which with England, France and Ireland is as tough as it gets.

A really strange schedule.

Apr 29, 2022, 06:36

I thought we playd Aus 2 x Down Under?

Apr 30, 2022, 01:36

We do play oz, if schedule hasn't changed, 27 August and 3 September. Venues still to be announced.

Apr 30, 2022, 04:06

This from the Springbok Hall of Fame:


Odd they don’t list the Australian games…..generally a reliable source. Maybe they hold off until the venues are decided.

Apr 30, 2022, 15:18

Well I hope that we do play them in Oz.....if we can beat them twice at home and AB here at home, we will surely be on the right track for WC.

May 01, 2022, 01:59

But if we want to offload,  swapping  out Dud for Esterhozen will accomplish that. From one of the worst offloading centres to  one of the best.

May 02, 2022, 11:28

Have been catching up on some of the games.

Seems we finally realised that the numbers favour offloading and NOT perpetually allowing defences to reset.

Perhaps ‘twas a power surge from Eskom that briefly caused the lightbulb to flash.

Regardless, a miracle.

Edit: Draad, here’s how i see it. You won’t be tiring out any backs(comprising most of the rush defenders) in 80 minutes. They simply have too much time to get their breath back. It’s the forwards you want to tire out. And that’s best achieved by offloading and dragging them side to side across the field. The slower the game the more similar the tiredness levels of both sides. A quicker game tires the team without the ball more because attacking numbers are always lower than defensive numbers IE less total meters run by attacking side than defending side and more anaerobic activity is present on defence.

May 02, 2022, 18:03

You don't have to convert me Plum, I'm already on board, but Rassie, like Heineke before him, don't like the risks's obvious that the players are actively being dissuaded from offloading. 

May 04, 2022, 11:43

Moz, it has been confirmed, we do pay Aus and this time it will be in Adelaide on a cricket pitch. 

Back to off-load, I remember Louw telling a story of trying to offload  back when Rassie coached the stormers, he tried something fancy but then the ball got knocked or something. Rassie looked at him, and just said, don't do that again. 

Coming back to the offload vs ruck. If you listen to the Irish commentators. Leinster do use the ruck but their speed at ruck time is next level, often less than 3 seconds. So they use the ruck to set the offside line and force teams on the back foot, but if you just keep popping the ball up then there will be no offside line and the other team can flood your support runners. 

So if you want to ruck, it has to be quick, but teams can also just spread out, so it is a really interesting contest. If teams fan out, do you use your big boys to drive, if you are losing the contact battle, offload, if the defending team come up to fast, create more rucks. 

If all fails create a human centipede and bomb the ball away. 

Man do I hate that tactic, they need to put an end to it, slows the game down and create an unfair advantage 

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