Cape Town – The primary theme of United Kingdom media reaction to the Springboks’ latest humiliation in Cardiff was to lament just how low South African rugby has seemingly stooped.
“Was this REALLY South Africa?” barked a headline on www.walesonline.co.uk to a piece by scribe Delme Parfitt in which he branded the Boks “virtually unrecognisable” from supposed superpower of old as they succumbed 27-13 to Wales on Saturday to complete an all-losses Test tour.
“It was, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst South Africa side ever to play in Cardiff and possibly ever to play anywhere.
“Their lack of threat, physicality and cohesion, and the number of errors they made was breath-taking from a team representing such a proud rugby nation. It’s an unimaginable transformation, and an extremely sad one as well.”
He added: “Of course it shouldn’t be any concern of Wales’s, but it would be foolish not to put this win in its proper context.
“When Wales beat the Boks in 2014 it really meant something, it was a prized southern hemisphere scalp and a victory to be cherished in the record books. This, however, was not the real deal … in fact it was hollow.
“Sure, Wales could only beat what was in front of them. But it wasn’t the real South Africa, not by a long chalk.”
Meanwhile the London-based Sunday Telegraph (www.Telegraph.co.uk) summed up the low standard of the game, despite the pretty clear-cut nature of the Welsh triumph.
“It says plenty about where Wales have been this last month, as well as the utterly appalling quality of the South Africans, that the final whistle was greeted with as much of a sigh of relief as a cheer of euphoria.
“Any praise (for the hosts) must be made with a sizeable acknowledgement to the rank mediocrity they were facing.
“This must be one of the worst South Africa teams to tour these islands … a pathetic impression of everything the Springboks represent. They are fully deserving of the ignominy of losing a record eight Tests in a calendar year for their country.
“Allister Coetzee, the coach, will be sacked (not guaranteed yet – Sport24); in fact, he will be lucky even to make the journey home without finding a P45 (certificate issued in UK at termination of employment) stuffed in his menu on the plane.
“Granted, there are bigger problems in Springbok rugby than the identity of the coach, but … goodness knows where South Africa go from here.”
The Guardian (www.theguardian.com) said the Boks “continue to plumb new depths …a youthful team were so redundant throughout.
“Under Coetzee’s watch, South Africa have now made history by losing eight Tests in a calendar year and they have failed to win on their (end-of-year) tour for the first time since 2002.
“It was a third win over the southern hemisphere’s ‘big three’ in 33 attempts for Wales, but that is a group the Springboks may not still be part of for long.
“Truth be told, South Africa’s problems go well beyond Coetzee, even if he may be the fall-guy.
“There has been a mass exodus of players to line their pockets in Europe or Japan and the domestic infrastructure is horribly outdated.”
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