The Bloodbath in Brisbane

Take nothing away from the Springboks, they did it good this weekend. Many had written them off as losers by at least 10 and I had my doubts as to whether they could pull off a win after their dismal performance in Mendoza. History was against them and history doesn’t lie. The boys in green-n-gold had other ideas, however, as they brutally dismantled a Wallaby team who felt they had a shot at running circles around the Springboks. They felt they had a shot at scooping their first win of this years Rugby Championships after back-to-back losses to the All Blacks and they felt they had a chance of retaining the Mandela Challenge Plate. They felt wrong.

It has actually taken me a few days to digest the bloodbath that was Saturday afternoon’s victory. It caught everyone by surprise. Sure I expected the contest to be a tight one – which it was for 60 minutes – and sure I thought we had an outsiders chance of sneaking a victory. Sure I felt the 10 point margin handed by Rugby365 to Australia in their match prediction was a bit harsh – and certainly perfidious – yet who could have predicted a record margin victory in a stadium which had never seen a Springbok victory? Especially after the bumbling effort displayed by the Boks two weeks ago in Mendoza and especially after Sideshow Bob was drafted into the fullback position.

So where did the Boks win it?

The truth of the matter is that the Springboks were better in all departments across the 80 minutes compared to the Wallabies which was set up by a massive effort by our pack. For 60 minutes the Test match was an absolute slug-fest between the two nations and could have gone either way, however the Springboks found themselves on the right side of the pill and capitalised on some weary Australian bodies. The South African pack physically put their team in the position to take control of the match by putting their bodies on the line for their country and brutally tackling the shit stuffing out of the Aussies. It was an absolute pleasure to watch.

As good as the Boks were – and I’ll argue that they were actually not that good – that was how poor the hosts were. They never seemed to be in the game and their attempts to play an expansive game was shut down by the brutality of the Springbok defence. Once they found themselves behind the eight ball, they were forced to play catch up which resulted in them needing to push passes – which generally tends to lead to more mistakes – which the Springboks were all too happy to take advantage of. The Wallabies just had a ‘mare of an evening. Their line outs were a mess. They were getting fucked up – for lack of a better phrase – in the scrums. The South African loosies were all over them at the breakdown. Quade Cooper was having no impact on the game and Israel Folau looked like a deer in the headlights. The Wallabies well-and-truly had no where to turn as the brutality of the opposition saw the moment become too big for them and they crumbled beneath it.

It may be worth noting that this was by no means a great performance by the Springboks. In fact I would go so far as to say that we were poor for stages of the game yet showed character to pull ourselves out of it. We managed to get ourselves on the wrong side of the officials early in the first half which say us earn a yellow and it is testament to what is fast becoming a mature and composed Springbok team that the Wallabies were not allowed to gain momentum during this crucial period. Our handling was also very poor as we knocked the ball on, on numerous occasions whilst our kicking game still needs some work. The lack of perfection is heartening as it shows we still have something to learn. Something to work on. We still need to arrive at practice and work on the basics. We still need to improve. We are not at our peak just yet. We are not the All Blacks.

Yet with all the imperfections, we managed to beat Australia, in Australia, by a record margin. Perhaps the scoreline is indicative of a Wallaby side who didn’t pitch up? It’s not necessary to look for excuses for the Wallabies. The history books will have the scoreline as Australia 12 South Africa 38.

What excites me about this current Springbok crop is that one gets the feeling that there is something special happening within the ranks. That a goal has been set and that they are slowly building towards it. These boys mean business and plan to take back the Webb Ellis Trophy. There will be some fine tuning and tinkering along the way but they march on as one unit. Sure it won’t be an easy ride but there is a vibe being sent out by this squad which reminds me of the Bok squad in ’06 and ’07. Even their style of play is reminiscent of the 2007 RWC Boks. It’s a simple yet effective game plan. It’s a smash you in all departments for 80 minutes and once you’ve capitulated, give the ball to our backs who carve you to shreds. It’s a percentage game. It’s Springboks rugby.

You stay classy

Below are the post match interviews from the ‘Bloodbath In Brisbane’.

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