It’s tough to put down in words how much I admire Jean de Villiers. I remember watching him jamming for Maties back in the day – which was a Wednesday by the way – and thinking to myself this chap can play rugby! It took some time before the world saw the talent he possessed, but once given the chance he soon establishing himself as one of the premium inside centres in the world. He has always had captain written all over him and it was only a matter of time before it got offered to him. He was my choice to pick up the mantle once The Race Pig retired and I was chuffed for him. I talk about JdeV as if he is one of my mates simply because that’s the impression he gives. Jean seems to be another one of the mates around the braai talking rugby. Except this mate is about to become only the fifth South African to play 100 Test matches for his country.
I cannot put my finger on why I’ve avoided writing about the Springboks during this years Rugby Championships. Perhaps it’s because I have felt uninspired by them. Or perhaps, with all due respect to the Pumas, I first wanted to see what they could do against those
wankers chaps from Australasia as the true test of any team is how they perform against the Wallabies and most importantly the All Blacks. This weekend’s result was a tough pill to swallow and whilst it would be far easier to lambaste the team, I wouldn’t consider that to be constructive. Alternatively, I feel there are a few questions which Heyneke Meyer has yet to answer and the fact that these questions are still being asked a year outside of the Rugby World Cup is of a far greater concern than losing by a whisker to an average Wallabies team.
The Boks put together a scrappy performance this past weekend against an enthusiastic Welsh side and still walked away with the victory. One might argue that despite their poor effort, the Springboks still managed to squeak the victory and in so doing, showed their character. I’m certainly not going to sugar coat it, we were lucky, but a win is a win and I’ll take it any way I can, at the end of the day. It seems clichéd because it is and my lack of literary imagination is perhaps indicative of the weekends performance. In all honesty, it was something of a meh game to watch after the previous weeks excitement and raised a few pointers worth discussing.
Frans Steyn dropped a bombshell on SA Rugby this week when he made himself quite suddenly unavailable for Springbok selection. No explanation was forthcoming from either SARU or the player himself at the time and this resulted in various rumours bouncing around various social media platforms in the days that followed as to the reason for Steyn’s decision. Now that the air has cleared and something of a reason has been given – by the player’s father no less – I find myself asking one question: Has the pride in donning the Springbok jersey diminished to such an extent that it gets brought to its knees by one player?