UK dailies hail Boks for comprehensive victory over England

2010-11-30 00:00

THE many thousands of South Africans in London would have enjoyed their morning newspaper read after the Springboks, in terms of bruises and on the scoreboard, thumped favourites England in Saturday’s Test at Twickenham.

There was unanimous praise for Springbok power and their wholehearted effort in downing England 21-11 on Saturday.

Mike Cleary, writing in the Daily Telegraph , said that England had been taught a harsh lesson.

“The relentless power of the Springboks’ play was remarkable. South Africa played with the will of the damned.”

Former England and British Lions flyhalf Michael Catt said the defeat was a painful wake-up call for England and manager Martin Johnson. South African-born Catt said that England had made advances this year but struggled against the physical teams like the Boks and the All Blacks.

“And this, to be honest, was a second-string South African side, even if they had a massive point to prove after their defeat by Scotland. If you want to be the best in the world, you have to stand up to the big beasts. The young players in this England side will not forget those encounters.

“I know from painful experience that when South Africa are in this kind of mood, they are an incredibly hard team to stop. Their sheer physicality can consume the opposition.

“They just come at you again and again and it is not just one player, it is across the pitch. It is hard to explain how difficult they can make it for you when they are in full flight. There is just no letting up.”

Catt said England could have few complaints about the lopsided penalty count and added they “were lucky not to receive a yellow card”.

“Despite their tough year, the Springboks have showed us that they have the ability and the core of a side to re-emerge as a formidable force in time for the start of the World Cup next year.”

Even former England and British Lions hooker Brian Moore, who irritates South Africans with his whining commentary whenever the Springboks are in action, was impressed.

“They provided a master class in bloody-minded character. Against all but the very best, South Africa have the sheer willpower and strength to prevail.

“I maintain that against a team who are able to come close to matching their forward effort and who can tackle the gain line, the Springboks do not have enough guile or subtlety in attack. Whether the reintroduction of their litany of injured players will compensate for this is unknown, but what is certain is that anyone unwise enough to get embroiled in an out-and-out scrap with the Boks is unlikely to win.”

The Guardian’s rugby writer, Robert Kitson, wrote that “South Africa turned in a strong-arm display which drove several ox-carts across the tender green shoots of English recovery.”

“They demonstrated how difficult it can be to play against a team whose forwards are pumped up and who have the nous to vary the game when required.”

And Paul Hayward wrote that Johnson’s men “went to work in white and limped home black and blue”.

“The autumn’s promising resurgence was smashed by a Springbok fist. South Africa were in primal mode. Not dirty, just merciless, man on man.”

The Sun’s Steven Howard said the Boks once again looked like world champions.

“They were superior in every department and nowhere more so than at the lineout where the outstanding Victor Matfield was untouchable.

“When it came to the contact areas, England were beaten up.”

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