Desperate for consistency

2014-11-14 00:00

THIS past weekend was not a prosperous one for the South African cricket and rugby teams.

Despite being 1-0 up in the three-match T20 series against Australia, we went down 2-1, as for the rugby field … let’s just confine that to the history books, hopefully to be forgotten in time.

The cricket has been allowed to slip by, most folks knowing that the T20 set-up is really a platform to bring talented youngsters into international cricket, and it’s the rugby that’s generating heated and frustrated discussion.

North against South — it really shouldn’t be too much of a contest as far as hardcore SA rugby fans are concerned. The English may have invented rugby, but here at the tip of Africa we take pride in having perfected the sport.

Now, a dark cloud of gloom hangs over a drooping Springbok head after the Irish outmuscled and outplayed a dreary South African side 29-15 last week, turning the end-of-year tour into a nightmare before it had started.

Which brings us to that word consistency.

It’s used widely by SA coaches in all sporting codes and seems to suffice as an excuse for not doing well, a soft landing after a mediocre performance, a cushion from which future miracles will surely spring forth.

The Springboks pulled on their jerseys a little over a month since their epic clash against the All Blacks in the final Rugby Championship fixture at Ellis Park. In theory, there was nothing in the match. New Zealand had already won the title and it was all about pride and passion for the Boks and South Africans, who wanted to show we still had the fight and guts to take on our strongest enemy and win.

It was the 1995 World Cup final all over again. A last-minute penalty sealed an emotional 27-25 win for the men in green and a nation stood tall once more.

Last Saturday, the Boks looked like a bunch of novices at times, the heroics of early October a distant memory. All of the same Springbok players were involved in both matches, yet one side played rugby and the other wondered how the game should be played.

That word again — consistency. Where is the consistency in a team that can perform out their skin one week and a month later, look like a bunch of shellshocked recruits on the field?

How do the All Blacks maintain such a high standard of consistent performances, regardless of the gaps between games? S

teve Waugh’s mighty Australian cricket team remained consistent for a decade, as did Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards’ West Indians.

Perhaps it’s the quality of player. These aforementioned teams were and are blessed with players who put more than just their number one skill on the table every time they represented their country.

Maybe we are not so blessed although Gary Teichmann’s Boks, who went on a 17-match winning streak in 1997/98, achieved their record through good old guts, determination and glory, something which we seem to lack these days.

We shudder to think how we will go in next year’s Cricket World Cup as we still search for consistency, which has prevented us from winning in the past.

Dolphins skipper Morné van Wyk summed it up best when reflecting on his team’s performances in the current Ram Slam T20 Challenge.

“We are consistently being inconsistent,” he said.

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