Matt Williams has described the British and Irish Lions’ game plan against South Africa as ‘neanderthal rugby’ while pointing out why Australia fared better.
South Africa claimed a 2-1 series victory against the Lions to back up their Rugby World Cup triumph in 2019 and after two comfortable wins against Argentina in the Rugby Championship they showed no sign of slowing down.
However, the reigning world champions then suffered back-to-back defeats against an Australia side that was short of confidence after three consecutive losses to New Zealand.
Former Scotland head coach and Australia native Matt Williams was speaking on Off The Ball and argued that the Wallabies fared much better against the Springboks than the Lions did due to far superior tactics.
Matt Williams on the Lions’ struggles against South Africa.
“They played really good rugby against South Africa. Really importantly, if we look at the Lions, what Australia did really smartly was that they attacked South Africa’s weakness,” Williams said.
“The Lions attacked South Africa at their strength. They headbutted the Lions. Australia attacked them in two or three points across the field and got a lot of benefit from that.
“Australia and New Zealand are rethinking on how to play against rushing defences. That’s what was special about those Australian performances. They picked out Faf de Klerk in the rush defence and they went either side of the smaller man.
“It was really smart. It was some of the smartest rugby I’ve seen in a long time. If you compare it to what the Lions did – that was primitive rugby. It was neanderthal rugby what the Lions did.”
— Springboks (@Springboks) September 18, 2021
South Africa desperate to get back to winning ways against New Zealand.
Everything was going according to plan for the Springboks just two weeks ago, but their consecutive losses to the Wallabies has all but ensured that the All Blacks will win the Rugby Championship, while they have also lost their number one ranking.
After the opening two rounds of the Rugby Championship the tournament looked set to be a straight shoot out between New Zealand and South Africa, but it now looks increasingly likely that the Springboks will finish third.
New Zealand are now heavily favoured to beat South Africa this Saturday, while Australia will be expected to overtake the Springboks in the Rugby Championship table with a win against Argentina.
The Springboks will undoubtedly be pumped up for what will be their 100th test match against the All Blacks, but they will need to put in a much-improved performance to have any chance of winning.