Krige: All Blacks are smarter
Cape Town – The All Blacks are simply playing smarter rugby than their opponents and are not being favoured by referees.
That is the view of former Springbok captain Corné Krige, who was speaking at a breakfast fundraiser in Hout Bay for Alan Zondagh’s Rugby Performance Centre in Riebeek-West on Thursday.
“You have to cheat if you are an openside flank. That is why you are in the team. If you can’t do it properly and get away with it, you won’t be picked,” said Krige.
Statistics published from this year’s Tri-Nations show that South Africa get a yellow card for every six penalties, Australia one for every seven penalties, and New Zealand one for 43 penalties.
“I think one should look at it differently. If the All Blacks are getting away with murder, they are doing it right,” said Krige.
“My job as openside flank was to disrupt my opponents and slow the ball. If the guys did not sort me out and the referee did not penalise me, I kept at it. That was my job. My fingers are looking so bad today because of opponents breaking them from me holding on to the ball at the rucks. That’s rugby.”
Krige described All Black captain Richie McCaw as an “incredible player”.
“People say Richie cheats, but for me he’s an incredible player because his job as an openside flank is to play on the edge. If he cheats and the referee does not catch him out, he has had a great game as far as I’m concerned because that is what an openside flank does. You have to be able to cheat well.”
Krige says South Africa should also not make the mistake of responding to provocation.
“New Zealand play intelligently. They are more subtle than us. We’re not dumb, but make blatant errors that are seen by referees.
“Bakkies Botha should have waited until later in the match after Jimmy Cowan had pulled his jersey because he would have got the opportunity to put in a big tackle or get him in a ruck. However, Bakkies wanted to react immediately.”
Botha was suspended for nine weeks for his headbutt on the All Black scrumhalf.
Krige still believes Botha can be of huge value for South Africa in next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.
“Maybe it’s also because I headbutted someone that I have sympathy for him,” said Krige.
“If Bakkies is managed well, he is the hard man of South African rugby. The public and media enjoy that, but Bakkies took it to another level and has now been caught one time too many.
“But let me tell you: If Bakkies is fit and plays the ball and not the man, he has to be at the World Cup. You’ll struggle to find a better lock.”
Krige believes Bok coach Peter de Villiers should be stronger in his management of Botha.
“I don’t think someone took Bakkies aside and told him how things work and that he’s not irreplaceable. He’s an incredible player and belongs in any Bok team if he’s managed well.”
Krige also believes it’s a mistake to criticise referees in public.
“Guess what happens in the next match then?”