Intimidation a weapon to beat All Blacks - de Villiers

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    05 Apr 2017     Getty Images

De Villiers told Kwese Sports he believed he had found a weakness in New Zealand rugby that the Springboks could use to their advantage in the Investec Rugby Championship.

It all came down to discipline, the 2008-11 coach whose sides won five out of 11 Tests against the All Blacks said.


"Looking at Super Rugby, the All Blacks may be ripe for the picking in 2017 unless they improve their discipline," he said.

"The All Blacks were the leaders in how they handled off-the-ball situations, the little scuffles. They never let opponents get under their skin.

"But in this year's Super Rugby competition it's been quite noticeable to see how easy they can be drawn into things off the ball that have nothing to do with the game," he said.

De Villiers believed the control achieved by the All Blacks under captain Richie McCaw's leadership had been impeccable as they 'outsmarted' opponents.

This had the effect of making referees sympathetic towards them which allowed them to live on the edge and get the benefit in 50-50 calls.

"The All Blacks have lots of experience, but it seems as if the game management wasn't passed on from the old generation to the new," he claimed.

"A big reason could be that the bulk of the All Blacks' team was made up from the then very successful Crusaders team. These days the leadership of the team is distributed over a wider spectrum of the franchises, and that opens the door for divisive thinking."

Meanwhile, former Springboks captain Jean de Villiers said the Springbok jersey had lost some of its meaning in 2016.

The eight losses in 12 Tests had in part been due to in-fighting at board level which had a negative impact on South Africa's game, he said.

"The structures from schools level to the Boks are not structures geared for long-term success. There's constant fighting going on from top level to the bottom, and vice versa," he said.

The problem with that was corporate South Africa lost interest in being involved, the brand got watered down and there was general unhappiness among players.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said the comments had not been ideal but he still felt de Villiers was in the Springbok camp rather than outside.

"I just want us to move away in South Africa from where we just take out the daggers and rip each other apart," Coetzee said.

"Let's get together and see what is best for Springbok rugby. We've started with the franchises and there is great collaboration.

"I don't see why we can't get it right. I maintain we've got good players, we've got good coaches in the country and we all love the Springbok. We must make sure that we all contribute positively to this season of Springbok rugby," he said.