Cape Town - Former Ireland flyhalf Ronan O'Gara says the Springboks’ performances in recent years have been disappointing.
In an exclusive interview with Sport24, the current Crusaders assistant coach said world rugby needed a strong Springbok team.
After winning only 11 of 25 Tests over the past two seasons, the Boks have slumped to sixth on the official World Rugby rankings.
“I played against the Springboks from 2000 to 2012 and, over the course of my career, they had some incredible players,” the 128-Test capped player said.
He continued: “The Springbok teams I faced compared to the current crop seem to be vastly different breeds. I struggle to see understand why with the amount of playing talent in South Africa, but I think that if you look at the quality of players the Springboks had a few years back - the likes of Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers - it offers some clues.”
With a new coach, O’Gara expects a different Springbok team but he did note that there were a few players who've let the team’s legacy down in recent years.
“At the minute, the Springboks have been underperforming. I’m sure new head coach Rassie Erasmus will get stuck into that and have the South African players playing to a level that is expected of them in their national game. If you look at the past few seasons, it’s been disappointing because South Africa has traditionally proved such a powerful rugby nation.
“There are certain behaviours and values expected of Springboks every time they take the pitch and some of them have let it (the legacy) down. I think world rugby needs a South African team that is firing. We haven’t seen that of late, but when I played against the Springboks they were bloody good I can tell you that.”