That New Zealand state of mind
better situation and only put at risk, through kicking, if there is a chance of getting it back.
Youngsters in New Zealand, when first introduced to the game, are encouraged to run and pass, to immerse themselves in the fun elements of the game.
It helps that the two islands in the South Pacific have a rugby culture that pervades every walk of life, plus a winning attitude passed down through the decades – but kids start out believing in the running game.
Youngsters play a lot of touch rugby and Sevens and are encouraged to learn the full gamut of ball skills.
In South Africa, children are fixed into positions from a young age – broad ones are props, tall ones locks and fast ones backs – and the aim is to breed players who are strong rather than agile.
In fact, a sense of adventure is often frowned upon – particularly at the big boys’ schools where an eye is kept on the (detrimental) national ranking and winning comes at any cost.
The consequence of the New Zealand style is the exhilarating approach displayed by their Super Rugby sides.
It’s no surprise then that the All Blacks are the ultimate personification of the belief that rugby is about scoring tries.
This was never more evident than at Ellis Park two years ago, when the All Blacks needed to score four tries to earn the bonus point to clinch the Rugby Championship – and did.
Instead of playing safe to try to just get the win, they played with the conviction that their approach, if done accurately, would result in tries.
That is perhaps the key facet that sets New Zealand’s sides apart – that faith that if a try has to be scored, if seven or five points rather than three are needed, they know how to construct a touchdown.
The other big difference is that they have dangerous and deceptive players all over the park – rather than a single, and predictable, go-to man, as is the case with most South African sides.
Take the Highlanders, who upset the odds by winning the 2015 Super Rugby title.
Whereas the Stormers, South Africa’s best side, tended to rely on Damian de Allende and the turnover ball to launch attacks, the men from Dunedin fielded a side in which all seven backs needed to be watched.