Springbok future might be bright after RWC 2015

2015-10-31 13:08

Sometimes when all seems lost, one should take a step back, take a deep breath and get some perspective. Nine out of ten times you will get a positive spin off from almost any scenario and you’ll be surprised to find that the sun shines brightest as day brakes…

The Springboks had a very mediocre World Cup to put it mildly and I think Heyneke Meyer could consider himself very fortunate should his contract as national coach be renewed. The shock loss to Japan ripped through not only the nation but through the global rugby community. Things didn’t get any easier with captain Jean de Villiers getting injured and having his tournament end in only the second pool match. Victor Matfield was struggling with injury as well and the Bokke found themselves after just two rounds with one loss and minus both their leaders. They recovered quite well by winning the remainder of their pool matches convincingly, but with a rather predictable game plan and a strategy less entertaining than an episode of Desperate Housewives…

They were unconvincing against the Red Dragons and I couldn’t help but feel for the Welsh. That said, a win remains a win and the Springboks found themselves up against a very good outfit lead by Richie McCaw in the semi-finals. On the day the Springboks had me very proud and though they lost the match, they did win back some lost love and respect. They played their hearts out and gave it their all and were just simply beaten on the day by a better team.

Most capped Springbok of all times, Victor Matfield

The 2015 RWC had South African rugby fans see the very last of some of the very best. Jean de Villiers, Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger all played what was probably their last game in the Green and Gold during this World Cup and they are only but a few. Depending on the coaching staff, we might have seen the last of the du Plessis brothers, Tendai the Beast Mtawarira, Ruan Pienaar, Morne Steyn, JP Pieterson and Zane Kirschner. Should Willem Alberts obtain another serious injury during Super Rugby 2016, he might be done with international rugby as well. One could argue that South African rugby is in a rather dark spot but as I have mentioned, the sun shines brightest soon after the rain.

What excites me about the future, is the combinations we have in place, the possibilities in terms of new combinations and the reality of youth. Ginger Ninja aka Steven Kitshoff might be on his way to France, but there is no reason why he shouldn’t be considered for the Springboks. His combination with Frans Malherbe, Keble and Vincent Koch was something to behold. Koch and Keble both can ship over to the tighthead side and so can Trevor Nyankane. All five these props except for Trevor Nyankane (age 26) are yet to celebrate their 25th birthday so you can just imagine these guys going to Japan in 4 years’ time, being in the best possible form of their careers.

The Ginger Ninja on attack.

Another possible combination that gets my “tjoppie on the kole” is our locks Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager. They seriously mean business and with 60 odd caps between the two of them they already contend for the inform lock combination in world rugby. Peter-Steph du Toit moving over to the mother city makes way for him and Etzebeth to start carving out a possible springbok combination. Franco Mostert, probably the most underrated lock in SA, is another player that has youth and potential on his side. Being the eldest, Etzebeth and Mostert would only turn 28 in 2019, so the potential and possibilities are endless.

At 21, with two Junior World Cups and Rugby World Cup 2015 now under his belt, Handre Pollard is probably the most experienced 21 year old flyhalf in the world. With Pollard and Page both playing their trade in Pretoria, one can’t help but be positive about a decent 9/10 combination. Personally I believe Faf de Klerk has a lot to offer and with him being only 24, there is more than ample time to slug out the rights to the Green & Golden nr 9 Springbok jersey.

Damien de Allende had a phenomenal year and stood his ground against the likes of Ma’a Nonu in the World Cup. His centre field partnership with Jesse Kriel just grew stronger and though they need a lot of coaching as a combination, the chemistry is undeniable and I believe they both possess the goods to make our dreams come true in 2019. They will have to deal with some healthy competition in the form of Mnisi, de Jong, Serfontein, Voster, Esterhuizen and Odendal though. These centres all hold heaps of promise for the future and one simply can’t help but notice the small but very severe ray of light shining through the thunderous clouds of 2015.

Heyneke Meyer considering another four year sleepless stint at the highest level.

Personally I believe it’s time for a new coach, a new strategy and a new belief. Should Meyer’s contract be renewed, I would be the first person to support the bugger though, because that’s what fans do, we support, through the good and the piss-pouring times. I could only hope that Meyer would have the vision to create, instead of maintaining all the time, and furthermore it is my wish that we would have the maturity, patience and the sanity to realise that sometimes one has to lose matches in order to win trophies.

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