Pieter-Steph Du Toit says England’s tactics made him think South Africa would win inside the first 10 minutes of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
England ran the ball from behind their own tryline and saw several high-risk passes go to ground early on.
“I just thought, ‘are you guys crazy? This a World Cup final, you don’t play like this'” said flanker Du Toit.
“We were quite physical in that game and they were quite afraid of us. That was what the plan was.”
The Springboks went on to prevail 32-12 in November’s match in Yokohama to lift the trophy for the third time.
Du Toit picked out Owen Farrell’s decision to spread the ball wide from his own in-goal area in the fifth minute and number eight Billy Vunipola’s stray pass after picking up from the base of a scrum shortly after as key moments.
“The moment in the final I realised ‘look I think we have got them’ was when they started running from behind their own tryline,” Du Toit added.
“The other was when Vunipola ran into Damian de Allende and Handre Pollard and just threw the ball away.”
In a forthcoming behind-the-scenes televison series following South Africa’s victorious campaign, South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus is seen urging his players to get into as many “battles” as they can in the final against England.
Lions tour ‘almost bigger than a World Cup’
Du Toit, who was voted World Player of the Year in 2019, says that next summer’s British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa may be an even bigger occasion than the World Cup win.
The Lions play three Tests against the world champions in July and August.
“I think it is going to be almost bigger than a World Cup,” said Du Toit, who was linked with a move to Harlequins before he decided to stay with Cape Town’s Stormers in May.
“It only comes every 12 years so for us in South Africa it is massive.
“I think they will have to build a bigger stadium just for the Lions because if the whole of South Africa could go and watch they probably will.”