Shhh! Do you hear that? Silence. Nothing coming out of Wales. No cocks-a-crowing. The Springboks were never going to lose this past weekend. They always possessed too much depth and class to let a team who felt the need to honk their horn in the build up beat them and their physicality and unwavering defence was too much for the chavs to handle and it was only a matter of 80 minutes before the Boks emerged victorious. One from one is as good a start as any yet you might feel that whilst the W is satisfying ol’ Heyneke will have a few sleepless nights ahead.
As satisfying as the Boks performance was this weekend and indeed throughout the year I am always the first to step back and observe the bigger picture. Which is the Rugby World Cup. Where is the team in terms of the next Rugby World Cup? Are we building? Are we improving? Is the squad beginning to settle? Do we have a blend of experience and youth? What type of talk is coming out of the camp? Whilst the results are certainly important, I would prefer to be ticking these afore-mentioned points two years out of the RWC than winning close encounters with the Aussies. Thankfully the situation is far brighter than this and we have thumped those pesky Aussies.
What is of the utmost importance at this stage is the talk coming out of the Bok camp. There is an air of confidence coupled with an admiral sense of humility floating over the camp which sets my mind at ease. It is clear that the Boks understand the process they are in and that they are not the finished product yet so have no right to strut around as such. The thing with confidence is that as soon as you feel the need to tell someone about it you reveal the lack thereof. Humility in victory is as important as it is in defeat and the Boks are on the right track in this regard.
Whilst the results have gone our way this season – barring the All Blacks – one cannot help but wonder what the final scorelines may have been if all fifteen Springboks had spent 80 minutes on the field? This is of concern at this stage and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. The Springboks have found themselves on the wrong side of the referee fraternity on too numerous an occasion this season and whilst some might point the finger at this fraternities incompetence in recent times it will be said fraternity who will referee the next RWC final. Regardless of our feelings about their lack of sight and need to visit the local optometrist. So it would be in our interest to win them over. In all honesty the Boks simply need to learn how to keep their shit together and channel their rage in the right direction. Players like Etzebeth, Flip and the Du Plessis brothers are of the greatest concern at this stage as they tend to see red and do something stupid. Hey Bizzie, you like doing stupid shit hey?
What of this weekends fixture against the Scots? Would it not be the perfect opportunity to rest a few players whilst giving others a chance to prove their worth. I refuse to believe that a ‘second-string’ Bok team would lose to the Scots at this stage no matter the conditions. Why not give Eben a rest and see where Bakkies is at or give Siya and Marcel a full 60 on the side of the scrum? Surely Jean deserves a rest and Jan Serfontein a start? What of Appels Aplon? If Lambie is going to be starting at 10 – which he will be – does this open up the door for a return to the Green and Gold for Gio? I certainly hope so. Willie Le Roux certainly deserves another opportunity to set things alight somewhere in the backline. Is it truly necessary to play the safe card with this game? Do the Scot really pose such a huge threat? Would it not be more beneficial to try a few things out? One would hope so.
All in all the Boks are on the right path heading towards 2015. Sure there are a few creases which need to be ironed out and one feels that two years out, we are perfectly set to do so. Whilst Scotland should potentially be something of an easier win than Wales was, France looms large after a spirited performance against the All Blacks this weekend. The amount of quality rugby which lies before us in the next few weeks is mind-boggling. If you don’t have a PVR, get one now! It is a wonderful time of the year, isn’t it?
You stay classy.
You stay classy.