Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers says the national team is guilty of moving away from its traditional strengths.
De Villiers won five of his 11 Tests against the All Blacks (45%), including all three in the 2009 season when the Boks won the Tri-Nations. Only Nick Mallett had a better win record against New Zealand (57%, four wins from seven matches) in the professional era.
‘What made us so good? Hard-nut, forward rugby where we don’t have any respect for anybody and our forwards grind and grind,’ De Villiers told Sport24. ‘If you mention Bakkies Botha, Juan Smith, Bismarck du Plessis, Schalk Burger … anybody who follows the game knows the fear that these people instil.
‘If you mention those four names in one team, think how much fear there is in your opponent when you play. I don’t know why we moved away from getting those kinds of players.
‘We are our own enemies because the All Blacks have perfected their lifestyle and how they play, and we went to copy them.
‘How can you make a big guy, who can run through people, make so many passes and put so many kilometres on the clock? That is where I think we went a bit wrong.’
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