Matt Williams, the former Scotland coach, once again ranted about the Springboks. This time he complains about one of South Africa’s greatest weapons on the rugby field: scrum work.
Ox Nche and Vincent Koch’s great forward performance provided a welcome injection of Bok momentum against England on Saturday night.
And when Bok’s child kicks a scrum-work penalty, Handré Pollard is ready to send the ball over the crossbar.
But Williams naturally swallows hard at the South Africans’ scrum work dominance.
“They use their scrums, as it were, to get three points on the scoreboard or to rush the ball over the touchline and launch a rolling movement,” the former coach told Virgin Media Sport.
He referred to rugby matches of the early 2000s where attacking backline movements were the order of the day.
“South Africa and England are like excellent tax experts: They will use every loophole to their advantage. Although I admire their intellect, it is not good for the game.”
According to Williams, he feels sorry for countries like New Zealand, Ireland and France; teams that like to run the ball.
“After all, we are in the entertainment industry and we have to ask ourselves whether rugby is intended for eight players or 15 players. Currently the game leans so heavily in the direction of scrums and rolling movements that it is completely out of balance.”
This is not the first time that Williams has criticized the Springboks – he earlier attacked the South Africans’ seven forwards on the substitutes’ bench against Ireland.
“Is it smart rugby in a World Cup tournament? Yes. Is this a good tactic? Yes. But it is immoral,” he said.
He was not so worried about the Irish forwards then – they will be able to stand their ground against the Springboks. However, the proverbial papaya can hit the proverbial fan when amateur players try to imitate the tactic.
“If a team’s front line is tired and their opponents suddenly boast seven fresh forwards on the field, things can go awry later in the game; especially if a scrum penalty is awarded. Players can then definitely get injured.”
The outspoken former coach believes it is his duty to warn future rugby generations against such tactics.