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Former Ireland star says the right team won the Rugby World Cup

By Ian Cameron
Jesse Kriel celebrates winning the Rugby World Cup - PA

Former Ireland scrumhalf Peter Stringer believes there can be no complaints over South Africa once again winning the Rugby World Cup.


Although they were beaten by Ireland in the pool stages, the Springboks won their second consecutive tournament and their fourth in total – a feat unmatched by any other side.

“I don’t think you can have any argument in terms of the team that won the competition,” said Stringer. “It was just another masterclass from South Africa. As a unit, they looked very comfortable in defence. They didn’t allow New Zealand any penetration through their line at all.

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“Even during the moments when they were down on numbers, you had guys like Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe or Pieter-Steph du Toit coming out of the line and making really good decisions to stop the attack and not allow Richie Mo’unga or Beauden Barrett any time on the ball.

“South Africa’s defensive mindset, the level of aggression and relentless pressure of their line speed, is really something to admire, and you always felt they could go up a gear if needs be.

“They were one of the favourites from the start and credit to their players and coaches and the decisions that they made around selection. With the strengths on their bench, being able to come through and manage those tough games – winning all their last three by a single point – is a mark of the quality side that they are.

“New Zealand came back into it and had a little bit more territory and possession, but you just never felt like they were dominating the game. They were relying on something special from a creative player like Mark Telea to beat three or four defenders.”

Peter Stringer Rugby World Cup
Peter Stringer

Stringer – who won 98 caps for Ireland across a storied career – believes that the referees also got it right at the tournament.

“The yellow and red cards obviously had a big influence on the game, but both were the right decision.

“There was no late change of movement from Jesse Kriel, so the picture didn’t change for Sam Cane. You need to be seen to get your body height down and dip and Cane was always upright. With Siya Kolisi, his back is nearly parallel to the ground, so he’s made the effort to get into the correct tackling position.


“There was a big directive from World Rugby coming into the tournament around head contact and people were wondering which way it was going to go, but there’s not been many talking points around cards, which has been great.

“What’s pleasing from my point of view is that the referee and TMO are in constant communication. He’s always in the referee’s ear, so there’s no cause for to stop the play, deliberate over decisions and frustrate viewers.”

Stringer, who competed in three Rugby World Cups – also though the tournament was a good advertisement for the sport of rugby union.

“I think it’s been a great tournament in terms of attracting new fans to the sport. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a World Cup where the four quarter-finals were as intense and closely contested.

“It would have been nice to see France as hosts go a bit further while, from a supporter’s perspective, I obviously wanted Ireland to be there at the end, but it’s a mark of the quality that it came down to such fine margins between the top sides.

“It was also great to see some of the second-tier nations progress. Fiji knocking out Australia was a highlight, and Portugal for me are a team that stand out for putting in some really good performances.

“Allowing these other nations to play together more often has been hugely beneficial, and the more game time they get against bigger and better opposition will make world rugby a more attractive game,” concluded Stringer.

The Munster legend was speaking to Betway.



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Timgrugpass 230 days ago

Congratulations to the Bok! Champions of the Rugby World Cup...tournament.
Congratulations to the Bok! Champions of the World Rugby RANKINGs...

...currently. & that’s the point, ie FACT ‘your only as good as your last game’.

The idea that there is a ‘World Champion’ for the 4 years is common but idiotic.

The world ranking system is the only meaningful system of anointing the actual current BEST team, ie the CURRENT RUGBY WORLD CHAMPION. Again, currently, the Bok.

RWC?..A great world celebration of Rugby at 1 place & time, Great! Worthwhile indeed. But labelling the RWC winner the ‘ world champions’ for the next 4year ‘  is purely a marketing & commercial  construct & label; WHY?? To justify it, ie make  a commercially reliable marketing cash cow for 4 years …. BUT FAKE. They’re the winner of a 1 game on 1 day of 1  tournament. & great, good win.  But they are what it is Champion of the RWC.

The BEST team is temporal … by definition. So actual current BEST team is shown at the top of World Rankings.

So thank goodness (finally!) for the new world ranking test series system to label the true CURRENT BEST team, ie the CURRENT CHAMPION. The only true champion of World Rugby's is the winner of the proposed  test series & finals of the top World Rankers. That a true CHAMPION title.  We don’t have to wait a meaningless 4years any more.

In the meantime, congratulations again to the Bok the true champions of the Rugby World Cup.
More importantly CHAMPION of  World Rugby (by ranking) ... but its momentary as always…

See you in the next World Ranking test series... NZ, Ireland, France, England  await you
(hopefully others, as the new eventual full world test ranking competition system will reveal)

James 230 days ago

The All Blacks scored the only try (and had another disallowed because of a slight knock on). They played most of the game with only 14 players. If the try had been converted they would have won. They should have won - they deserved to win.

Michael 230 days ago

One thing no one is taking into account instead whining like entitled little brats is that South Africa had by far the hardest route to the final of facing the other five of the top six teams in the world rankings (Ireland, New Zealand, France, England and Scotland) losing narrowly to Ireland in the pool stage. And they won it the hard way showing supreme courage and determination to win all their three knock-out games by a single point. Extraordinary. THE BEST TEAM WON. REMEMBER THAT 2019, South Africa played New Zealand and Australia within a week and beat Australia with their B Team, while their A team was sent ahead to play All Blacks (draw). Bokke is THE BEST TEAM EVER AND THEY PROVED IT TO ENGLAND, FRANCE, NEW ZEALAND, and if they are bad, then what are the other teams? Stop with the excuses. Bokke rules. Take your beating LIKE MEN - GRACEFULLY

Bob Marler 230 days ago

Hello Pigeons. Here’s a cat.

Which team will be the next back-to-back World Cup winners?

Unless South Africa wins the 2027 Rugby World Cup (which they are poised to do), the only chance for a new back-to-back winning team to emerge wouldn’t be for at least another eight to twelve years. Or maybe ever.

If this were to happen, I believe such a team would likely enter the 2027 tournament with a young squad, relying on youthful energy and raw talent - making it to the final. And winning it.

The majority of this team would then go on to the 2031 tournament and, if everything goes perfectly according to plan, secures another WC victory, achieving two-in-a-row. Making history.

It’s a familiar story.

Another potential scenario for the 2027 Rugby World Cup - the winner could be a young team from the 2023 tournament that takes valuable lessons from it.

They could return in 2027 on or under the radar and clinch victory. However, this team may not repeat the feat in 2031. Too old by then.

Several teams could fit into this second category, including Ireland, France, and England.

Similar to South Africa in 2019, England played solid, gritty, knockout rugby. They narrowly missed out on reaching the final. In 2027, they could be strong contenders, but a repeat victory in 2031 is unlikely.

New Zealand stands out as the top prospect for 2027. A young team, a new coach, and a fresh approach could position the All Blacks to win the 2027 World Cup and have the potential to compete again in 2031 with the same core team. Aiming for their 5th Rugby World Cup title. And second back-to-back. That’ll shut the Saffas up.

For this to happen NZ Rugby will need to change their selection rules and open up selecting all blacks playing abroad - particularly the experienced ones who aren’t taking up space back home, and are adding to their experience in some of the most challenging leagues in the world. Certainly more challenging than SR. That experience, turns out, is invaluable at world cups.

(Ireland and France are undoubtedly also top contenders and shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s just I’m SH till I die).

However, I believe that South Africa winning a third consecutive title is as likely as any other scenario under certain conditions:

  1. Continuity in coaching is crucial. Rassie Erasmus must remain in the picture until 2027. To facilitate the handover and entrench processes before he leaves.\n\n
  2. Integrating a significant number of new young talent into the team is essential, especially in the pack. Fortunately, they will have the guidance of experienced players in their positions (Many double WC winners) over the next four years to groom this next generation of players.\n\n
  3. Grant Williams at scrum-half seems inevitable. If not him, a world-class scrum-half needs to emerge by 2025.\n\n
  4. Libbok has come out of 2023 looking good and with a winners medal. He’s young enough to still peak as an international 10 by 2027. But there are also other exciting high-potentials out there. For me a certain 10/12 out of Cape Town seems a very exciting prospect.\n\n
  5. Body permitting - Lukhanyo Am at outside center would be my choice for captain of the Springboks. But where do we play Moodie?! What a 13 he is.\n\n
  6. Players like Cheslin Kolbe, Damian Willemse, and KLA could hold on to that back three combination for a few years quite easily. We can also expect to discover more stars like them in the next four years. Cheslin and Willemse could win their third gold medals in 2027. Willemse will only be 29 in 2027.
Somewhere some high school kid is unaware that he’ll be at the next world cup playing with his heroes.

The focus of the Boks should primarily be on developing the next generation of forwards. Approximately 25% of the squad should consist of 25 year-olds next year, with an additional 25% in 2024, primarily in the pack of forwards.

Maintaining a winning mindset, and winning the Rugby Championship (RC) should be a priority each year. And any other trophy up for grabs. Clinically win everything there is to win.

While it may seem like a long shot, I’d love to see a team achieve a remarkable 3-in-a-row victory in my lifetime. It’s 2027 or possibly never.

Go Bokke!

Let the abuse begin…

yster 230 days ago

Thanks Mr stringer, the one point that you also have to ask in all this, how many Irish, Scottish, French, English or All Black players are in the Springboks= None. Yet in all those teams there are at least one but in some cases 5 SA players. If asked they will all be glad the Springboks won. SA is a tough country but our people are good. Mr Stringer we appreciate your opinion

The 230 days ago

1 week on. 4 more years 🤔

rory 230 days ago

Pleased to agree with Peter Stringer

Greg 230 days ago

I don't know what game you were watching. New Zealand played most of the game with 14 players against 17 ( Ref and TMO) included and deserved to win

Sam 230 days ago

🍀Well said Peter Stringer

Jon 230 days ago

It would have been fitting if say NZ had this performance in a semi final, for where they were at, they only scored twice against Ireland as well too right?

Ireland probably ruined their chances playing around trying to beat South Africa during pool play. They should have backed themselves to play their game and if they lost then it would have avoided NZ at least and we could have had a (looking from another perspective) more fitting Final?

Well it’s irrelevant really, thats talking quarters not semi’s, but yeah, getting what games Stricker wanted wasn’t going to happen this time around with the rankings. No one deserves anything other than what happened.

Is what Kriel did a normal tactic in NH play? I’ve never seen the likes before, and I can guarantee you Cane hasn’t either.

When the guy quoted was suggesting NZ attack just wasn’t as dominating as SA’s defense was, that that was the difference, I was thinking we had someone who read a game well. I might have to take that back though as I just can’t agree with the specific points he made. It’s only for the betting agencies anyway.

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