My Saturday was one filled with rugby – The All Black v Wales game was a fantastic affair and up to the 53rd minute a Wales win looked possible. But as only the All Blacks can, they turned the next 5 minutes into a nightmare for the Welsh with a couple of quick tries to effectively close the game. A plucky come back from the Welsh entertained, but the damage was done.
The Wallaby v England game also proved to be a massive clash. The English defended like Trojans and deserved their win.
Then there was SA v Ireland. My honest thoughts at halftime were that there was no way that the Bok side would beat any of the other sides that played on the day, based on the week before and the first half display. The reality of no wins from nine games come 8 October, seemed a real possibility for Alistair and his charges!
The second half delivered a significant change and the last 15 minutes a display we have not seen in a long time in Bok rugby. Firstly, De Allende seemed to have his mojo back. He straightened the line beautifully and ran with conviction. What a hero Combrinck proved to be, but make no mistake, Warren Whitely could easily have been man of the match!
Factually, we still scrummed badly and defensively we missed way too many tackles. In reality we have lots to do in order to compete with the big boys. Graham Henry, the previous All Black coach, made a statement last week that SARU should take note of:
“What was alarming for me in the Bok loss to the Irish, was the total lack of passion and commitment for the jersey,”
“In my time as All Black coach we played against Bok teams that we knew didn’t have the talent and skills of us, but by g.., you knew you were in for an absolute war. That fire and pride seems to be dying slowly and I am struggling to understand why. A once feared opponent and now they are struggling to compete with top tier nations…”
Port Elizabeth has been a good hunting ground for the Boks and they can enter with some confidence from last week’s second half win. Don’t write the Irish off though – they are close to creating history!
THE SPRINGBOK TEAM IS AS FOLLOWS:
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Lwazi Mvovo