All Blacks great hails Springboks’ ‘meticulous’ planning after flooring France

All Blacks great Sir John Kirwan has hailed the Springboks’ planning for the Rugby World Cup and their shift in tactics after defeating France in the quarter-finals.

Kirwan joined fellow ex-All Blacks Mils Muliaina and Jeff Wilson to react to South Africa defeating France 29-28, and the former winger was full of praise for the Boks, whom he has been critical of in the past.

What the Springboks got right

The trio bemoaned the elimination of the tournament’s hosts, but Wilson asserted that South Africa had the talent to win crucial games.

On Sky Sports NZ, Wilson said, “Unfortunately for the hosts, they’re out of the Rugby World Cup.”

Although the French fans are sad, we constantly talk about the Rugby World Cup despite the fact that it just ended. Did South Africa just execute a sound strategic plan, and were their 80 minutes of team selection nearly flawless?

“This is where they get at their utmost best, the fact that they know how to win knockout football, they aren’t the defending champs for nothing,” Muliaina went on to say.

Kirwan believes that the Boks got their selection and playing style on point for the match.

He stated, “Their balance was far better; I’ve previously criticized them for perhaps overusing the boot, but I think they got that mix wonderfully correct.

The back three were strong in recovering the ball, their kicking game was a little bit shorter, and France’s mistakes led to their first two tries.

“France played well in the opening stages, but South Africa just knows how to win those games.

“There was some controversy about the HIAs and the men who appeared and disappeared, but that’s South Africa. You have to declare that the best team won because they know how to use the rules and really pressure the opposition.

According to Kirwan, the Springboks’ capacity for handling match pressure is essential to both their playing and their strategy.

He replied, “You know what you can’t measure, the South African side are really excellent at, the pressure they deal with it really, really well; they know it’s coming.

“We only noticed it 20 minutes ago, so I believe it was planned out. They seem to be careful strategists, so I have no idea how they would approach England because they could provide a different strategy.

Dupont out on his feet

Injury forced Antoine Dupont to miss France’s final pool-stage game, but he was able to recover in time for the quarterfinal.

Despite his absence from the last pool match against Italy, Kirwan said that the captain and star number nine’s play suffered.

“I think Dupont not playing was a problem,” he said.

“I believed he was out of gas in the final five minutes; he was great and among the best in the world, but he was gassed because he hadn’t played in a few weeks.

“It was an incredibly courageous thing for him to do, but what happened actually when they were trying to mount some pressure is they made little errors, knocking on the ball, got a bit panicky and started throwing it around a bit instead of just keeping composure and mounting the pressure, and that’s what South Africa is good at.”

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