Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen says he understands frustration around the quality of product dished up in the Currie Cup, but notes that a “run at all cost” strategy is not always wise.
This follows recent criticism from former Springbok coach Nick Mallett and ex-Lions mentor Swys de Bruin, who said they were left a bit frustrated by what they witnessed since the country’s return to rugby following the Covid-19 lockdown.
There is too much of an emphasis on set-pieces and kicking, according to Mallett and De Bruin.
Van Rooyen’s Lions have been one of the better attacking teams in the competition but he stressed the importance of finding the right balance between styles.
“The reality – in world rugby, not only here – is that there’s an increased focus on set-piece and kicking tactics because defensive structures have changed so much,” Van Rooyen told Netwerk24.
He added: “I understand that people say it’s frustrating, we also feel that way. We want to play a lot more ball-in-hand-rugby and run a lot more. But if a team puts you under pressure on defence, then a single judgment in error could cost you, three, five or seven points.
“For those of us who want to run with the ball and employ an attacking game plan, it’s important to remain ambitious and not go into our shells. The challenge is to find a balance between the pressure you put on your opponents on attack, the pressure on defence and the pressure with kicking.”
Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie also weighed in on the matter in an interview with Sport24.
“I fully understand why there are questions being asked over the standard of the Currie Cup this season,” Fourie said on Wednesday.
“If I’m brutally honest, I have, at times, felt the same way, probably because my own team didn’t play the best rugby. We’re known for the good brand of rugby we play traditionally.
“But there are a few good reasons for this current situation.”