Lomu fascination dangerous, warns Gerber
August 18, 2000

South Africa's obsession with Jonah Lomu, the giant All Black left wing, makes it easy for them to knock holes in the Springbok defence.

This is the view of former Bok great Danie Gerber. "It doesn't make sense to me to use four of five guys to stop him. It worked in the 1995 World Cup, but then the Kiwis used a pattern that suited us and we could get away with it," said Gerber.

"In the final, the All Blacks tried to bring Lomu into the game using long passes. That suited us, because we could easily isolate him. Now things have changed and the All Blacks know we'll send out a commando to take on Lomu."

"It's not important that he has never scored a try against us - he creates opportunities for players like Tana Umaga and Christian Cullen."

Gerber suggests the Boks' defensive pattern should be amended to prevent Lomu from gaining momentum. "As soon as he gets momentum, you're in trouble.

"But you can stop him with a single player if he gets tackled quickly or when he turns to take a pass. If someone like George Gregan can do it, then there must surely be a Springbok who can."

Gerber was not too optimistic about Bok centres Robbie Fleck and Grant Esterhuizen's intentions to block out the All Blacks on attack.

"They can make plans for all they like, but if the backline doesn't come up in a straight line, they can forget about it. Nobody mentions Justin Marshall or Andrew Mehrtens. Who's going to keep an eye on them?"

Gerber is also a bit worried about Fleck's inexperience at playing inside centre. "If he again rushes up too quickly on defence, he'll create even more problems for the backline. He'll create the space for Mehrtens to put another player in that gap."

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