All together – same again Bokke!

2015-09-30 06:00

“NOBODY fears us now,” said a headline in one of the country’s leading daily newspapers. It sat alongside a typically aggressive head-and-shoulders shot of 2007 Springbok boss and World Cup winning coach, Jake White.

So...wonder what he’s saying now? Now that just a week after the Japanese disaster, the Boks, with plenty of panache and not a little skill, are fresh off a hammering of Samoa in round two of their Pool B World Cup outing at Villa Park, Birmingham.

Never mind, Jake, as you ought to know rugby can be quite a funny – though never laughable – old game. Make no mistake, it’s a long haul yet, but at least this vastly improved performance by the Boks showed that there’s plenty of fight in the team yet.

Talking of which, among the many brickbats flung at this De Villiers-led team that he, the skipper, like his first lieutenant, Victor Matfield, and others – all of them too old, too weak, too slow, too-just about-everything-negative – still have plenty of fight left in them, though sadly this match signalled the end of a fine career for the captain.

Let’s keep in on the rugby field, too, and give the uncomplimentary mud-pies aimed at coach, Heyneke Meyer, a miss, at least for now. In the end rugby matches are won on the turf the games are played on.

More performances of this calibre – against Scotland and the US – should comfortably ease the Boks into the playoffs. No doubt it has been pointed out to them that in 2007, England were beaten in their opening Pool game by the Boks but reached the final, only to lose to the Boks again.

Last Saturday there wasn’t a Springbok on the park who didn’t excel in one way or another. What sensible timing, too, to relieve Matfield and skipper De Villiers of their duties at just the right moment.

From almost the first touch of the ball, the South Africans, to a man, performed at the top of their game. No one more strikingly than JP Pietersen with a hat-trick of tries in a performance that stood out as tall as his towering, pacy physique. The three tries, one couldn’t escape feeling, were in the nature of payback by Pietersen for failing to put more effort into denying Japan the match-winning try, a week earlier, with a more determined dive.

Wherever you looked last Saturday brave deeds were being done. In this area chalk up full marks against the names of Bryan Habana – if there’s a second left on the clock for a last minute try, Habana’s your man – Willie le Roux; Handre Pollard; Fourie du Preez, what a craftsman; the Schalk Burger, Francois Louw and Dwane Vermeulen loose trio, and make that a double-star for the last-named. And let’s not forget Matfield and skipper De Villiers.

Now for Scotland. Same approach, lads – everyone at maximum revs. This could yet be a more-than-just-memorable World Cup!

Your best shot please. And you lot on the sidelines and in front of your TVs sing it loud and clear: “Ons vir jou Suid Afrika!”

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