Boks, NZ likely RWC finalists

2007-09-17 12:40

Gary Boshoff

I am tempted to regurgitate what countless newspaper and internet reporters documented since the Springboks demolished the English on Friday evening - but I'm sure you will be pleased to know that I will not!

I would however like to concur with them that it was indeed one of the best Springbok performances of the Jake White era.

I am sure that the Springboks have already started in earnest with mental preparations for their much anticipated clash with their antipodean nemesis, the All Blacks.

By the look of things this is sure to happen if the Springboks maintain their present form.

In fact, looking at the other top contenders, none look more like finalists than the Springboks and the All Blacks.

But let's not jump to all sorts of conclusions after one brilliant display by the Springboks.

With their almost faultless display on Friday, the Springboks have laid down the challenge to the All Blacks, a challenge they will be all too eager to take on.

Swamped

You will recall that I had the French down as my "outside favourites" (whatever that may have meant)!

They got swamped by the Pumas and now they might end up facing the mighty All Blacks in the quarter-finals. This would definitely not have been their preferred route to the final.

It is therefore not that far-fetched to be weary of more similar upsets as we get closer to the playoffs.

At last the World Cup has started to become less predictable and teams even show respect for erstwhile insignificant opponents.

Ireland scraping through against Georgia? Not on my radar! That is, until last Saturday.

Closer to home the Currie Cup has yet again become a battle between the usual suspects, namely the Cheetahs, Sharks, Blue Bulls and the Lions.

After their crunching defeat at the hands of the Bulls on Saturday, WP seem to have hit a dead end.

The Cheetahs are assured of a home semi-final, being unbeaten after 10 matches.

Genuine commitment

Apart from the Sharks and Boland, it is still very disappointing to see so few black players getting the opportunity to play Currie Cup rugby.

The Sharks and Boland showed genuine commitment to transformation with their match-day selections.

The Sharks had seven black players in their starting XV with an additional three on the bench. Their opponents Boland had six in their starting line-up and four on the bench.

In stark contrast the Blue Bulls had their usual two players in the starting line-up with Hilton Lobberts (Springbok) playing off the bench!

It was the same story at the Lions, Cheetahs, Griquas and Falcons.

I believe that there was a formal request to the provinces (from Saru) to use this window period (when the Springboks are away at the World Cup) to give more black players the opportunity to play.

It is clear from this past weekend's selections that some regarded the request as a serious one while others paid scant attention to it.

There is after all nothing that compels provinces to comply with a "request".

  • Gary Boshoff is a former Saru player and well-known rugby administrator.

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