British & Irish Lions flyhalf Dan Biggar has complimented the Springboks’ style of play after it was dismissed as “boring” by former coach Peter de Villiers.
De Villiers, who coached the Springboks to a series win over the Lions in 2009, hit out at the team’s tactics employed under coaches Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber.
The former Springbok coach said that while the team’s style of play was effective, it was “boring” and they could be doing more to get the best out of star individuals like wing Cheslin Kolbe.
However, Biggar, who has faced the Springboks several times with Wales, said that when it comes to Test rugby, results will always trump the aesthetics of how one plays.
“Well, we’d all take the style of play they play if we could end up with a World Cup-winners medal at the end of it!” Biggar explained.
“They’ve done extremely well in their style of play. They’re heavily reliant on set piece, they’re heavily reliant on getting on the front foot.
“You know you’re going to be in a kicking battle when you play South Africa. The amount of kicks on Saturday is going to be pretty high with how they play and what they want to do to you.
“They want you to make errors in your own half to allow them to have territory and allow them to get into their power game.”
The Lions will face the Springboks in the first of the three-Test series this Saturday in Cape Town.
Having already faced an South Africa A team coached by Erasmus and contained several World Cup-winning Springboks, the Lions will have a fair idea of what to expect, but Biggar said they will still need to match the hosts up front to stand any chance of winning.
“What’s impressive about South Africa is you kind of know everything they’re about to throw at you, but it’s still very difficult if they do it well, or you’re a little bit off or lose a couple of collisions, to get back on top of them.
“That momentum is huge for them. It’s about staying in the arm wrestle for as long as possible, not giving them anything cheap and then taking your chances when you get them.
“You’ve got to match it first and foremost. Unless you match it, you’re in a bit of trouble, really. You’re going to get overrun.”
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Image