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Wednesday Sep 29, 2021

'It bores me to tears!' - John Kirwan rips into the Springbok style of play

Despite a narrow 19-17 loss to the All Blacks due to a sensational late penalty kick by Jordie Barrett, the Springboks gameplan has been heavily criticized from all corners of the globe.

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The World Champions have always played to their strengths but the apparent lack of ambition, or confidence, with ball in hand has irked fans and neutral onlookers.

They won the 2019 Rugby World Cup final by sticking to a gameplan while still playing what was in front of them, unleashing the likes of Cheslin Kolbe and the rest of their talented backs, but now they appear void of even giving that a go.

The final six minutes of the match against the All Blacks, as broken down with this excellent piece of analysis, was quite unbelievable to watch, as they themselves seemingly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

“The lack of ambition when they were on attack, I think that was the disappointing thing,” said former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers on New Zealand’s The Breakdown show.

“You put yourself in a position – yes that strategy takes you to a certain area of the field – but then you need to be able to switch on, have the ambition to keep ball in hand and score tries. I think that’s where I felt a little bit disappointed in the approach. If they went on and won the game.. two, three different decisions in the last four minutes, [and they] won the game, would you have spoken about it? I don’t know.

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“The big question though is can they apply the same strategy this weekend and keep the All Blacks under pressure for 80 minutes as they did last week.. There’s a big question mark.”

Former New Zealand winger John Kirwan was more frustrated, lamenting the style of play and saying that the Rugby World Cup will probably be boring rugby from now on.

“It bores me to tears. I don’t like it,” he said.

“Is that style of rugby going to be the style of rugby that wins world cups now? And are we just going to go and all be bored at a World Cup?

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“Or are we actually going to say as rugby people, ‘We don’t like this people! We want to run the ball!'”

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