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British and Irish Lions: South Africa defend enjoying type

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South Africa kicked the ball 35 times during the second test

South Africa has responded to criticism of its conservative tactics by insisting it does not get the recognition its success deserves.

But the second test was an ugly spectacle dominated by brutal forward shifts and kicking.

“The same narrative was there when the Boks won the 2019 World Cup,” said South Africa striker Deon Davids.

“It is surprising that the effectiveness of this approach in terms of good results is not apparent. There is always a plan behind everything.

“When we do things, it’s not about being boring, it’s about understanding what we want to achieve.

“This gave us enough opportunities to play with the ball in hand and make attempts.”

South Africa scored the only two attempts of the second Test in Cape Town on Saturday, but those were rare highs in an otherwise sultry affair.

Each half lasted more than an hour due to the constant interruptions, the slow pace of the review of a multitude of decisions by those in charge and the ability of the world champion to set the pace of the game.

New Zealand coach Ian Foster is unimpressed, saying the game “put me to sleep” and that the rivals are “almost scared to play” while even former Springboks coach Peter De Villiers described the national team as “very, very, boring” .

But Davids denies that their stifling game plan is a bad advertisement for the game.

“No, not at all. It’s a spectacle. I think it’s fantastic. Rugby has always been about a physical fight on the field, but also a fight in which the opponents try to outsmart each other, whether on or off the field, “said Davids said.

“The competitiveness and talent of both teams on the field are good for rugby in the world. And if we can stay competitive at this level and get better, rugby in South Africa will just be better.”

Unsurprisingly, given their emphatic victory, Davids said South Africa was “pretty happy” with the way the second test was rated.

This judgment marks a significant departure from preparation when Boks rugby director Rassie Erasmus released an extraordinary hour-long video criticizing the officials ‘performance of the Lions’ victory in the first test that could be punished by World Rugby.

The Springboks were disciplined by Saturday’s grudge game, although Cheslin Kolbe’s dogfight against Conor Murray appeared to be a red card but was punished with a yellow card.

Only Lions prop Kyle Sinckler was cited for an alleged biting incident.

“We are very pleased with the process that has been followed and implemented between the coaching staff and World Rugby,” said Davids.

“Whatever you choose, we will trust this process and will continue to follow it in the future. Whatever happens in the game, there is a thorough process.”


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