SA media hail champion Boks

2009-09-13 15:44
Champions! (File)

Champions! (File)

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Johannesburg - The South African media Sunday hailed the national rugby team as the best in the world after clinching a third Tri-Nations title.

South Africa withstood a late New Zealand onslaught in Hamilton on Saturday to triumph 32-29 and take an unassailable 12-point lead in the annual southern hemisphere championship.

"Best Boks ever" was the bold headline in the sports section of the mass-circulation Sunday Times while "Courageous Springboks undoubted world No 1" declared the upmarket Sunday Independent on its front page.

"It doesn't get much sweeter than this", "I was happy to be collateral damage - Smit" and "Tri-Nations wrapped up with vintage victory over All Blacks to complete trophy cabinet" were other prominent headlines.

The Times claimed the current Boks are the greatest to wear the green and gold with the Tri-Nations title following victory in the 2007 World Cup and a three-Test series triumph over the British and Irish Lions this year.

"If this Springbok team is not the best ever to wear the green and gold, they're doing a helluva job pretending to be. There were elements of greatness in the manner in which they snuffed the life out of the Tri-Nations."

"Peter de Villiers' men now hold pretty much all the bling there is to win internationally with the exception of the Six Nations (northern hemisphere championship)."

The Independent highlighted the courage of the Springboks in a match which ended with blood on the face of captain and tighthead prop John Smit, who also led his country to World Cup glory in Paris two years ago.

"Not only are they the best team around, they maybe also the most courageous, given the long queue of players requiring medical attention after they put their bodies on the line."

South Africa became Tri-Nations champions for only the third time in 14 attempts after defeating New Zealand twice at home and once away and Australia once at home and once away.

The sole reverse for coach De Villiers and his vastly experienced team came last weekend in Brisbane when Australia triumphed 21-6 to avenge a narrow defeat in Perth seven days earlier.

Finishing their campaign with a victory in New Zealand was especially sweet for the Springboks who had not beaten the All Blacks three times in one year since 1949.

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