The Springboks, world champions, prefer “the gutters to the dance floor”
As the Springboks prepared to face the hosts Japan in one Rugby World Cup 2019 quarter-final coach Rassie Erasmus noted: “They want to take us to the dance floor and we want to take them to the gutters.”
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The astute tactician was referring to the smooth, free style of the Brave Blossoms and the methods of submission and suffocation favored by the Springboks.
South Africa won convincingly and beat pre-match favorites England by 20 points in the final to a record third world title.
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Once again the “Boring Boks” had triumphed in a tournament where many other teams had played more eye-catching rugby.
the “Boring Boks” the debate is back in vogue this week ahead of a third litmus test against the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.
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After a close first loss in the Test two weekends ago, South Africa won the second 27-9 after a match described in a report as “an ugly spectacle dominated by brutal forward exchanges and kicks”.
New Zealand coach Ian Foster has declared the game “put me to sleep” and former Irish star Tony Ward lamented “the supposedly best in the world playing caveman rugby”.
Foster developed his displeasure by saying: “It became a very tight, almost risk-free type of series. The teams are almost afraid to play, they are relying on a low risk strategy. “
Ward was equally critical, wondering “How did he come to this? A gathering of some of the greatest players in a place where match officials are more at the heart of the outcome than who we want to see.
“Meanwhile, the players, roughly one man, are reverting to caveman tactics in pursuit of a plan driven by over-excited, ego-obsessed coaches.”
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Same Pierre de Villiers, who led the Springboks to a 2009 series victory over the Lions, has joined the stunt of criticism.
“The Springboks are the world champions and we are all grateful for that. But I don’t think people are going to copy this style of play.
“First of all, it’s very boring. Does it give you results? Absoutely. But it’s very, very boring. South Africa’s first black coach told the London Daily Mail.
“We suffocate people with our mass, and then we base our whole game plan on defense, defense, defense instead of create, create, create.”
But the Springbok opener Handré Pollard is a strong supporter of the system they deploy, calling it “The most beautiful thing in the world.
“It’s the way we’re raised and it’s the way we play and, to me, that’s a thing of beauty. Throwing the ball is fun for people who watch TV.
Asked about the “boring” tag assistant coach Deon Davids responded: “When we do things, it’s not about being boring, it’s about understanding what we want to accomplish.
“In doing so, we create enough opportunities to play with the ball in hand and score tries. I believe in our approach and where it takes us.
“I wasn’t with the team at the time, but the same story was there when the Springboks won the 2019 rugby championship. It was the same when they won the Rugby World Cup la same year.