So far so good

2007-09-10 11:44

Gary Boshoff

What a way to start the 2007 Rugby World Cup!

The Springboks are riding high after an impressive start to their campaign.

Announcing their intentions with a stirring display of attacking flair and confrontational forward play, the Springboks couldn't have hoped for a better start.

The backline looked confident with ball in hand and for once ran at the opposition with more than one option to offer.

Bryan Habana and Francois Steyn (since the first minute he stepped onto the field) were outstanding!

Habana especially looks hungry and sharp and has the ability to make this tournament one to remember for him and South Africa.

I don't foresee the Springboks having any problem whatsoever with the English if they keep this positive, attacking approach.

The English are far too flat-footed and unimaginative to be able to counter the Springboks' onslaught effectively.

I predict an easy win for the Springboks on present form.

The 'Tricolors' had a cataclysmic start to what was to be "their" World Cup.

Better prepared

However, I still believe they will bounce back and feature in the playoffs.

On Friday they were just upstaged by a team that was physically and mentally better prepared for the encounter.

The Argentines played as if their lives depended on this game - they were literally everywhere on the field, always two against one at the breakdowns and at times there were as many as three of them tackling one Frenchman!

It was goose-bump stuff, similar to the New Zealand v France semi-final in 2003 - what a privilege to witness!

If the match was not proof enough that the Pumas' incorporation into a southern hemisphere Four Nations competition is long overdue, then I'm afraid it will never happen.

The French have been preparing for weeks for this game, just like the Springboks and the other "professional outfits" at the tournament.

The Pumas - though all their players are professionals in their own right - have only been preparing as a team for the past three weeks, with players still fulfilling duties at their resident professional clubs in between the preparations.

This makes their achievement all the more remarkable.

Emotional presence

Researchers and professional sportsmen and women have all along maintained that the mental state of the sportsperson is responsible for almost 80% of the success or lack there-of.

It was clear from the moment that the Argentines took the field, their visible emotional presence when they sang their anthem and their almost impatience for the game to start, that the French will have be extraordinary on the night to beat them. Records will show that they were not.

The question now remains: Will they (Pumas) be able to repeat this performance? Will they be able to beat the Irish as well?

They have indeed shown that they have the players to pull it off and might just surprise by finishing top of their group when the group stage comes to an end in a few weeks time.

The Pumas has set the stage for the 2007 World Cup. They have demonstrated the level to which professionalisation has lifted the competitiveness of their national team.

Together with the gutsy performances of the USA and Canada, it augers well for the future of the tournament.

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

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