All Blacks coach heaps praise on all-conquering Springboks

All Blacks coach heaps praise on all-conquering Springboks

New Zealand head coach Scott Robertson gave the Springboks credit for winning the Rugby World Cup 'off the boot'. 

South Africa defended their 2019 crown title in stunning fashion, ending the tournament with three successive one-point wins to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a record fourth time.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup final was one for the ages, with rugby's two most successful teams squaring off in a titanic battle. Flyhalf Handre Pollard's boot proved the difference between gold and silver, as he kicked four from four.

Speaking on Sky Sports' The Breakdown, the All Blacks newest head coach acknowledged that World Cups are won off the kicking tee rather than the try line and the Boks have adopted a near-perfected strategy in that regard.   

"Test football is a game of strength, the World Cup is a game of finals and strengths," Robertson told the panel.

"That's what they [Springboks] play too. They are a great defensive side, great kicking side, great set-piece side, and they kick the goals to win.

"The majority of major events with 'kicking' involved, finish with a kick to win it. Soccer, [American] football, rugby, league, the critical ones are won from the foot.

"And they won it off the foot. They made the kicks. Incredibly tight margins at that level, they went back to what they were good at, and that's the shape of the game."

Looking to the future of the All Blacks, Robertson revealed that he is aiming to evolve with a fresh group of players with an eye on the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia. 

"The big part for me this year is to win and evolve, so we can win in two to three different ways... that's the key to bringing success over a four-year period," continued Robertson.

"We've got a great group that are still hungry. Haven't quite got there but know and experienced it [and] care deeply about the All Blacks.

"There is a young group coming through that are ready to take that opportunity as well."

Robinson, who won seven consecutive Super Rugby titles at the helm of the indomitable Crusaders, took over from Ian Foster after the World Cup.

READ MORE: Springboks announce 43 players for alignment camp in Cape Town