Waikato Chiefs earn back-to-back Super 15 titles by beating Australian team.
ACT Brumbies winger Clyde Rathbone says it was “poetic justice” the Waikato Chiefs became Super Rugby champions with an attacking style, urging officials to ensure the sport avoids becoming boring.
The South African-born former Wallaby believes the Brumbies can use their 27-22 loss to the Chiefs in Saturday’s final to spur them to the title next year.
But Rathbone said he hopes the game’s governing body changes rules to promote try-scoring rugby instead of forcing teams to “strangle” their way to the top.
There were three tries in the Super 15 final in Hamilton, the Brumbies scoring an intercept before the Chiefs stormed to the lead late when crossing twice.
“We’ve (the Brumbies) got some outstanding attacking players but I don’t think we got the most out of them in big games,” Rathbone told the Sydney Morning Herald Monday.
“We played a Test-match style to strangle teams into making errors and trying to feed off those.
“It was almost poetic justice the Chiefs won — they played the most football in the last 15 minutes. There’s almost something wrong with rugby if you can win a final and not play much football.
“To win the championships you have to play football. You can choke teams out of games to the point where you can potentially win the championship … but I don’t think that’s healthy for the game.”
Rathbone, a 2004 championship winner who came out of retirement this year, stressed he was not criticising the game plan of his coach Jake White and instead said officials and the laws were not encouraging teams to attack.
“We’re in the entertainment industry, we’ve got to score tries. (White) is coaching in a way that gets you wins and smart coaches do that,” Rathbone said.
“The rules allow teams to play that way, we need to force teams to have to play more.
“As a winger, I probably got one touch in attack … It’s a war of attrition, you’re pinning teams with field position and one percenters,” he said.
“We need to do more than that, we need to thrill crowds. In 2004 when we won the (Super Rugby) championship it was off the back of our attacking game. This year our efforts were off the back of our defence.”