In a wide-ranging interview on his upbringing and career, former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has hit out at the Springboks’ style of play under Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber.
De Villiers was speaking to the Daily Mail in an interview, also opening up about the recent violent uprisings in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and how it related to his own upbringing in apartheid South Africa.
During the interview, De Villiers, who coached the Springboks to a series win over the British & Irish Lions in 2009, commented on how the team is currently playing under head coach Nienaber and director of rugby Erasmus.
“The Springboks are the world champions and we all are grateful for that. But I don’t think people will copy that style of play,” De Villiers said.
“Firstly, it’s very boring. Does it give you results? Definitely, but it’s very, very boring. We suffocate people with our bulk and then we base our whole gameplan around defending, defending, defending. Instead of creating, creating, creating. We normally say that honesty comes from children, and if you’re going to play that kind of rugby at schoolboys level I don’t think a lot of schoolboys will want to play the game.”
The Springboks claimed the 2019 World Cup thanks to tries from Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi, who became the first South Africans to score tries in a Rugby World Cup final.
However, De Villiers said the Springboks could be getting far more out of a player of Kolbe’s ability.
“I’m talking about the team here,” De Villiers said. “We’re not talking about individuals. There will always be great individuals in world rugby. Cheslin Kolbe is one of those individuals that comes around every 12 or 13 years. He’s somebody that children want to follow. A hero.
“But do you think he is in a team that creates enough opportunities for him to live out this greatness? Or does he have to wait for somebody who kicks the ball into his hands? I don’t think we use him to the best of his ability.”
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