South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard has defended their ‘boring’ style of play and insists that their power-based game plan is simply part of their DNA.
Despite containing plenty of talent behind the scrum, the Springboks very much went back to basics when Rassie Erasmus took charge.
It worked, too, with Erasmus’ men claiming the World Cup title in 2019, but they have also been criticised for perhaps not getting the best out of their talented outside backs.
They have one of the best players in the world in Cheslin Kolbe but former head coach Peter de Villiers believes that the current set-up is hindering the Toulouse star.
A thing of beauty
Pollard disagrees, however, and insists that the way they play is “beautiful.”
“Why do we accept playing like that? It’s the way we’ve been brought up,” he told reporters.
“To me, it’s the most beautiful thing…apart from my wife. That’s the way we play. Throwing the ball around is nice for people watching on TV, but to me the way we play as the Springboks is a thing of beauty.”
Pollard starts for South Africa this weekend with Elton Jantjies on the bench, but also in the wider squad is 37-year-old Morne Steyn.
Steyn played a key role in the 2009 triumph as the Springboks defeated the British and Irish Lions 2-1.
It was revenge for their 1997 series loss and Pollard said that he took huge inspiration from his fly-half rival’s exploits 12 years ago.
“I was about 15 years old when that series took place and the memories like Morne’s series-winning penalty in the second test at Loftus are amazing,” he added.
“I believe many young South Africans that were the same age as me fell in love with South African rugby after that. It definitely convinced me to aim to play rugby at the highest level.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have played alongside some of those heroes. Hopefully we can create similar memories in this series.”