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Springboks need consistency to challenge All Blacks

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Sportal.co.nz     15 Nov 2013     Getty Images

Dalton, who played 43 Tests between 1994 and 2002, told Sport24.co.za that consistency gave the All Blacks their edge.

"The top-ranked team in the world produce consistently strong performances each match.

"While I'm loath to criticise the current Bok team, the players need to realise that rugby is an 80-minute game. You can't play for 60 minutes and then expect the final quarter to take care of itself.

"If we take the Ellis Park Test, for example, the All Blacks maintained a high level of intensity for the full 80," he said.

However, Dalton said there were encouraging signs for the Springboks under Heyneke Meyer.

"The future of Springbok rugby is incredibly bright. In terms of Meyer, he will only be regarded as the right man for the job as long as the team performs," he said.

Looking at how the hooking role has changed, Dalton said with law changes he felt the game was not as skilful for tight forwards. A hooker was rarely classified as a fourth loose forward when he played.

"There was no entering from the last man's feet and it was first come, first-served at the loose ball scenario. During my playing days, rugby was a lot more skilful and competitive in the sense that players had to run shorter, quicker lines. Nowadays, we see more one-dimensional rugby being played in channels," he said.

So far as hookers were concerned he said Bismarck du Plessis stood out over all others in South Africa. While Adriaan Strauss had a similar work ethic to du Plessis he didn't think he had the aura du Plessis had.

"What's clear is that a team no longer requires the strongest pack of forwards, or the most intimidating tighthead to dominate a game.

"In the modern era, the old-fashioned type player can now be supplemented with ones boasting more skill and better ball-handling ability," he said.

Dalton wasn't a fan of tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis.

"I don't think his scrummaging has ever proved phenomenally strong – at times he has even been exposed on the domestic front. In addition, I feel he possesses a low work-rate, looks lacklustre and misses a lot of tackles," he said.