All Black legends call ‘boring’ Boks ‘a problem’ for World Rugby as they back Ian Foster’s claim

Colin Newboult
Springboks maul against Tonga in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Springboks maul against Tonga in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Former All Black Jeff Wilson insists that Ian Foster was correct to imply that the Ireland v South Africa match lacked entertainment in comparison to New Zealand’s efforts.

Foster said after their dominant victory over Italy that “at some point, the world has got to decide which game it would rather watch.”

Rassie Erasmus hit back at the All Blacks’ head coach, while others were bemused by the 58-year-old’s comments.

Wilson agrees with Foster, however, and believes that much of the talk in these big games is not actually about what is happening on the field.

Defence and set-piece dominant

South Africa play a certain style, England play a certain style of game. Obviously, the Wallabies, the All Blacks [play differently] – France are somewhere in the middle. Ireland like to hold onto the ball,” he said on The Breakdown.

“We’ve got variety, but in the end, we’re spending a lot of time talking about the atmosphere in and around the stadium and in the crowd.

“We’re spending more time talking about that rather than what’s happening on the field. Ultimately, when it comes down to it, defences are still winning in the big games.

“Defences are standing out; the set-piece is still the be-all and end-all. When push comes to shove, they (South Africa) went to the front eight (against Tonga) and just kept going.

“That’s how they win games and allows them to dominate in areas, but ultimately, as a fan you’re seeing more kicks, one-pass carries, and that’s a problem.

“I think this is on World Rugby. This is the flow-down effect. It’s the pinnacle of the game; this is the example being set around the world and, if you want people to grow up wanting to play the game, what is it they’re seeing? Who is it they enjoy watching?”

“Boring” Springboks?

Sir John Kirwan went a step further to say that the Springboks are ‘boring’ to watch and insists that the governing body need to step in.

“When people are doing a Mexican Wave, they’re bored. I was bored during that game because it was stop-start. Now, the game needs to change. It’s an anaerobic game; we need to be an aerobic game,” Kirwan said.

“We need to get our numbers up. I’m pretty sure South Africa don’t want to play like that.

“Do you want your team to play like that? Maul, penalty kick, maul, scrum, slow it down. If that’s how you want to play, I’m cool with that, but I don’t want to see the game like that; otherwise, we will just have Mexican Waves four times a game.

“World Rugby need to stop saying, ‘we need to see a game’, they need to make changes.”

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