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'Scotland were the toughest to play at RWC' - Springbok Jesse Kriel

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 10: Duhan van der Merwe of Scotland takes on Jessie Kriel during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Group B match between South Africa and Scotland at Stade Velodrome on September 10, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Back in South Africa for a few weeks due to a thumb injury sustained in Japan, Springbok centre Jesse Kriel has provided some fascinating insight on life abroad, mastering the rush defence, and who the toughest team was to face at Rugby World Cup 2023.

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Chatting for former Bok teammates about defence on the latest episode of RugbyPass TV’s Boks Office, the double world cup winning centre sprung a surprise when asked who was the tougher team to face between Ireland and England.

“Defensively, I think the toughest game was probably Scotland. Obviously a guy like Finn Russell, you never know what he’s going to do. They try to play a lot of rugby.

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Double World Cup-winning Springbok centre Jesse Kriel explains to the Boks Office crew how Lukhanyo Am helped him reach new heights on the playing field during last year’s World Cup in France. Watch the full interview exclusively on RugbyPass TV.

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Jesse Kriel on his relationship with Lukhanyo Am in the Springbok squad | RPTV

Double World Cup-winning Springbok centre Jesse Kriel explains to the Boks Office crew how Lukhanyo Am helped him reach new heights on the playing field during last year’s World Cup in France. Watch the full interview exclusively on RugbyPass TV.

Watch now

“Ireland was also right up there. They’re an unbelievable team.

“I think England [in the semi final] was more attritional, obviously it was raining there so there wasn’t a lot of ball movement.

“All three games were extremely tough but I think if you’re talking defensively wise and making decisions, Scotland and Ireland were right up there and you really had to be on your game.”

Fixture
Rugby World Cup
South Africa
18 - 3
Full-time
Scotland
All Stats and Data

Speaking on the famed rush defence, Kriel was candid about how things work in the Springbok team.

“You always know, you are going to f*ck some things.. you going to make some bad reads. You’re going to make mistakes. Understanding that, and also knowing that you’ve got 14 other guys that are busting their arse off, so, it’s never “Jesse made a mistake”, because I know Pieter-Steph [du Toit] is flying half way across the field, chasing a paper packet to get some other oke.

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“You know some oke’s [guy] going to bail you out, and then you’re going to bail him out at a later stage. It’s a really cool system and environment to be in, because you always know oke’s are working hard for you and you’re working hard for them.

“You’ve got the coaches telling you, ‘Listen, make decisions, we want you to be bold’. You’re not going to win a world cup being tame and sitting in your shell.”

Having said that, he did pick England to beat Scotland at Murrayfield in the Six Nations this coming weekend.

You can watch the full episode of Boks Office exclusively on RugbyPass TV now.

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