Stick hits back at Springbok kicking game criticism: 'We don't coach to cause injuries'

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  • Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick hit back at All Black criticism of the Springbok kicking game, saying they coached within the laws.
  • Kurt-Lee Arendse copped a red card for a dangerous mid-air clash with Beauden Barrett, who landed on his upper back in Mbombela.
  • Stick said the Arendse-Barrett collision was unfortunate and that the Bulls winger apologised to the All Black.

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick hit back at All Black criticism of the Springbok kicking game, saying they did not coach players into making dangerous aerial duels.

The Boks outmuscled, out-thought and out-manoeuvred New Zealand in the air in Mbombela to record their most comfortable victory against the All Blacks in recent memory, 26-10, last weekend.

However, the win was blighted by a late Kurt-Lee Arendse red card for a dangerous mid-air clash with Beauden Barrett, who landed on his upper back – a sickening collision that ended with Arendse off on a stretcher for concussion.

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After the game, New Zealanders questioned the legality of South Africa's methods, even calling on World Rugby to clamp down on the aerial contests.

Stick, though, for whom kicking skills fall into his remit, said the Boks won't change a thing for the rematch at Ellis Park on Saturday (17:05).

"It's funny … I thought we're playing boring rugby," said Stick, tongue-in-cheek.

"All of a sudden now aerial skills and the contestable kicking game is a problem in the game. We've always played like this.

"We don't hide how we play the game. It's part of our DNA, the kicking game.

"A lot of people last week questioned Kurt-Lee Arendse's size but you saw how massive he was in how we wanted to play the game.

"Him and Makazole Mapimpi played probably one of the best games when it comes to contestable kicking that I've been involved in.

"We won't change anything."

Arendse received a four-match suspension for the infringement that Barrett admitted in mid-week left him worried while he lay hurt on the floor.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said on Thursday there was at least one other incident in which they felt they could have gained a penalty for an alleged South African infringement that wasn't blown.

But, he caveated that by saying they, too, needed to improve their aerial weaknesses.

Beauden Barrett is taken out by Kurt-Lee Arendse (
Beauden Barrett is taken out by Kurt-Lee Arendse (Gallo)
Gallo Images

Stick said the Arendse late error was unfortunate but the Bulls winger apologised to Barrett afterwards.

"Unfortunately, with the situation that happened with the last kick, where Arendse got a red card, he was contesting nicely throughout the whole game but he got his timing bad on the last one," said Stick.

"And he got punished by getting a red card and he's suspended. I know that wasn't his intention and that's not how we coach. We don't coach to cause injuries; we always coach by the law and by the book.

"It was just unfortunate. I know Kurt-Lee apologised to Beauden Barrett.

"We always try to play in a good spirit and there's massive respect between the two teams, the All Blacks and Springboks."


South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Willie le Roux

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Tyrell Lomax, 2 Samson Taukei'aho, 1 Ethan de Groot

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 George Bower, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa'i, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Quinn Tupaea

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