Putting my disappointments aside, the Springboks didn’t play badly this time around. (It must be hell to read that line yeah?) Nonetheless everything they said they were going to improve, they improved. The plays at “break off points” suggested that they really wanted to play rugby. What made me and most of my mates countrywide happy was that finally the backs gave the ball a little bit of air. Something my other favourite team, the Bulls, must learn to do if they want their supporters to return to the Bullring. The defence was resolute even though their lines were broken couple of times, the cross cover was good enough to stop the attack in their trails. Unfortunately statistics do not win games “nogminder” world-cup games. The scoreboard alone does so.
South Africa’s form is absolute; the only problem is the average age of the players commissioned with the enormous task of winning the Webb Ellis trophy for the second successive time. Most of them in the squad have already won everything there is to win in rugby and the hunger is just not there anymore. Saturday’s game can stand testimonial to that as none of the senior players put their bodies on the line. Maybe they are saving themselves for the World-Cup. Do not get me wrong, the experience they bring is necessary but there is no point to prove from their side.
If the future is really nothing but a repeat of the past, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Remember this time four years ago? Jake White, who eventually won the World Cup, was in the same position as Pieter De Villiers. At the time the Boks didn’t even look as if they would make it through the semis of the 2007 RWC. Jake stuck to his guns and took the “old men” to France and guess what happened? Yes the won the tournament – much to the shock and dismay of all the critics.
Maybe we should stop judging the coaching stuff of South Africa and support them for a change because contrary to popular belief, the Springboks do have something to play for and that is being the only team in world history to lift the Webb Ellis trophy three times.