It keeps getting tougher all the time

2016-09-21 06:00

“WELL they tried,” said the next-door neighbour. I mean maybe if...” and he strung together a whole bag of maybes and if onlys. He’s a nice chap, likes to see the best in people, specially our national rugby team, the Springboks.

“Oh please!” said his wife, shaking her head wearily. “Do me a favour. If that’s tried, perhaps we should take up kennetjie. Maybe then we could win a Test now and then.” Was it something like that wherever you happened to be watching the eagerly awaited away rugby Test against the All Blacks at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand, last weekend?

They left soon afterwards, the neighbour still muttering to himself: “Damn Kiwis. Never thought we’d get a hiding like that – 41-13. Oh, man!” His schoolteacher wife was still chuckling as they paused at our front gate. “What was the name of it again – the ground where they played, AMI Stadium? Couldn’t be more appropriate – AMI, ‘A-Mazing Ineptitude’.”

Her husband gave her a pained look. “Wait till we play them in the return match here in SA,” he said. “Then we’ll show them.”

“Not the way we are playing at present,” his wife shot back. Her husband gave a hapless shrug. Poor bloke, you had to wonder how many similar scenarios were being played out at other homes along the street. Unhappily you had to agree. “Amazing Ineptitude” – that just about summed it up. Okay, the ABs posted the first points on the scoreboard, a penalty. But the Boks wiped that out with a typical Bryan Habana try. Then the Kiwis hit back with an Israel Dagg try to let the Boks know they meant business. At halftime the home side were 15-10 ahead, but the Boks were still in it. Still anybody’s game.

Beg your pardon – anybody’s game? Part of the Boks’ problem is their inability to keep their momentum going and soon they find themselves running out of steam. And sure enough the ABs shift up another gear to stretch their unbeaten home run to 44 winning matches since last losing in New Zealand in 2009. To whom? You may well ask. Yes, the Boks of course! Nearly all the tries in the second half came from basic Bok errors – a knock-on, poor pass, weak clearance kick.

Soon the Boks entertain the ABs at home. No doubt coach, Allister Coetzee, will make changes. Will they help? Will they bring in fit-again Pat Lambie? He looked something like his old self for the Sharks in their 53-0 trouncing of the EP Kings in Durban last weekend. We’ll have to wait and see.

The Boks also have to prepare for the Wallabies here at home. This clash, too, will be a demanding affair after their 23-17 Brisbane defeat by the Australians earlier this month. Though Argentina fought back bravely in their 36-20 defeat to the Wallabies in last week’s Rugby Championship clash in Perth, the Boks at home will need to pull out all the stops if they hope to gain revenge for that Brisbane defeat by the Wallabies. The Aussies are hot. In the first 12 minutes of the Test they ran in three tries. You don’t get much hotter than that!

You can be sure of one thing, the Boks will know that nothing but their very best effort against the Wallabies will be good enough this time around.

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