Traditional SA recipe won World Cup for Boks - Visagie

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Cobus Visagie
Cobus Visagie

Cape Town - Former Springbok prop Cobus Visagie says the team's Rugby World Cup success was due to them reverting back to the traditional strengths of South African rugby.

Rassie Erasmus' Springboks copped flak for their tactics throughout the showpiece event in Japan.

Pundits and fans were upset with an excessive amount of kicking and some said there was not enough enterprise shown out wide.

Via an interview with Netwerk24, Visagie said this "truly South African recipe" was the reason the team won their third World Cup.

The Boks beat England 32-12 in the final in Yokohama, producing a scrum masterclass and bullying their opponents physically.

In short, the Red Roses were pummelled up front.

"My frustration for the past 20 years was that the Springboks weren't coached in line with their strong point of dominant forward play. For too long we've tried to copy the Australians and New Zealanders," Visagie said.

Visagie, who played 29 Tests for the Boks between 1999 and 2003, says Erasmus' strategy of picking six forwards on the bench allowed him to replace one tight five with another.

"Our coaches were innovative and worked out a strategy best suited to our weaponry. Coaches around the world would relish working with South Africa's big and athletic forwards.

"If your tight five dominate to such an extent, then it creates opportunities. That's why Duane Vermeulen (No 8) and Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf) looked so good. You play a different type of game if you're 100% certain of the platform you're getting."

Visagie left the Stormers for Saracens in England in 2003 and went on to play over a hundred games for the London-based club.

Now 46, he still lives in London and has knowledge of the English game.

He added that South Africa's scrum dominance in the World Cup final was no surprise.

England suffered an early setback when they lost tighthead Kyle Sinckler, with Dan Cole coming on as a replacement.

"I've always been of the opinion that Mako Vunipola (England's loosehead prop) and Sinckler were vulnerable in the scrums. Cole has been a strong scrummager for long, but suffered a neck injury a while back and has never been the same since," Visagie added.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert

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