A start towards the ‘finish’!

2015-10-14 06:00

IT’S time now for the Springboks to look backwards briefly at what they’ve achieved so far in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and then take a long, hard look at what lies ahead as the tournament moves into top gear at the business-end of the four-yearly event.

To start with, the last of the Boks’ Pool B matches against the US Eagles in London looked anything but encouraging. Holding a narrow 14-0 lead at the break – half of which they owed to a converted penalty try – things looked anything but reassuring. But the way they turned the tables in the second half in a quite remarkable manner reminded one of the old Crosby classic in which the king of crooners assured lovers of his music that “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish – and I’m gonna finish on top!”

That’s exactly how it was for the Boks at London’s Queen Elizabeth Park last week as they hammered the nails into the Eagles’ wings to the tune of 64 points to nothing that included three crossings of the American tram’s tryline by an exuberant Bryan Habana. What a relief, too, after that error-strewn first half that included the almost insulting gift of that penalty try!

Then suddenly everything changed – and the wide grins on Habana’s happy face following his first try soon lit up the faces of his teammates. Now, determined to show the first round loss to Japan was no more than an unfortunate hiccup, the South Africans demonstrated a completely different side of their rugby nature. Suddenly they were transformed: became totally clinical, ruthless, and at times virtually sparkled – the 64-0 scoreboard showing just how good they could be at their best.

So where do the Boks go from here? Last weekend it was soon apparent that Wales, even when their Wallaby opponents were reduced to 13 men through two yellow cards, simply didn’t have the firepower to defeat a fiercely determined Australia. A meritoriously brave 13-man defensive effort by the Wallabies and the usual accurate goalkicking by Bernard Foley assured the Australians of a 15-6 win and what very likely will be an easier route for the Wallabies in this weekend’s quarterfinal clash with Scotland. Similarly, the task lying ahead for the Springboks against Wales is likely to be the easier route to higher honours for the South Africans.

But nothing in rugby is easy; specially not a quarter-final against the fiercely proud Welsh. On the other hand, playing as they are at the moment one cannot escape the feeling that Fourie du Preez’s men are in the sort of fettle that could well topple the Welsh, perhaps as they did in clipping the Eagles’ wings, with the panache of winners of real class.

So much will depend on the Boks’ ability to make a solid start to avoid the sort of dithering hesitance that dogged so many of their moves in the early part of their match-up against the US. Inability to avoid a similar display could be crucial to their ambitions to move ahead to the Cup’s semifinal stage. The team has all it needs to assure success from here on through a good mixture of brawn and finesse. Strangely, the injuries to stalwarts Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield, may well prove a blessing for there’s little doubt the best years of these two stalwarts are now something of the past... So once more let’s raise a cheer. Shout it loud and clear: “Go, Bokke – Go!”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.