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VIDEO: 'I believe it's the only way to defend'

WATCH as double World Cup-winning centre Jesse Kriel chats to the Boks Office crew about South Africa’s defensive philosophy.


The Springboks are renowned for their rush defence and it was there for all to see once again during a successful World Cup campaign in France last year.

Combined with a highly physical approach, the Boks often stifled the opposition’s momentum with their defensive game.

In conversation with Boks Office host Hanyani Shimange and fellow guests Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger, Kriel explains why that type of defence is needed in the modern game.

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“I believe it’s the only way to defend,” said Kriel.

“Initially, it’s very hard because you are exposed. When you do it for a long time you get better and you get better at making decisions.


“But I do think players have become so good with their skillsets that if you are not putting guys under pressure, you are going to be ripped up.

“It’s not like back in the day when you can be soft and push guys to the touchline.

“These days line speed is a must. You must be putting guys under pressure constantly.

“Guys on attack need to be thinking: ‘Have I got time when there is someone in my face’. You force guys to make decisions because otherwise you get ripped up.”


On why it works so well for the Boks, Kriel added: “You always know you are going to f*ck some things and you going to make some bad reads.

“You’re going to make mistakes, but you also know that you’ve got 14 other guys that are busting their a**e off.

“It’s never, ‘Jesse made a mistake’, because I know Pieter-Steph [du Toit] is flying halfway across the field chasing a paper packet to get to some other oke.

“You got the coaches telling you: ‘Listen, make decisions and we want you to be bold’.

“You are not going to win a World Cup being tame and sitting in your shell.”

Kriel also explained why Scotland was the hardest to defend against at the World Cup.

“Defensively, I think the toughest game was probably Scotland because you never know what a guy like Finn Russell is going to do.

“Ireland were also right up there and they are an unbelievable team.

“I think England was more attritional and obviously it was raining, so there wasn’t a lot of ball movement.

“All three games were extremely tough, but If you are talking about defence and making decisions, I think Scotland and Ireland were right up there.”

You can watch the full episode of Boks Office exclusively on RugbyPass TV now.

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