Springboks Shot Down In Flames

Louis van Schalkwyk

Louis van Schalkwyk

Louis is an avid analyst of all things rugby and enjoys writing about the ins and outs of where the sport is going and has come from, especially regarding teams from his native country, South Africa.
Louis van Schalkwyk

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A massacre.

For those who managed to catch only the first fifteen minutes of the test match between New Zealand and South Africa and woke up to the ensuing headlines reflecting a 57 – 0 victory to the All Blacks could’ve been forgiven for thinking they were stuck in the Twilight Zone. Is it fake news? Perhaps in elaborate prank?

The answer quite simply is “No”.

South Africa was full of intent in the opening stages, forcing penalties and monstering their opponents in the scrum. Until of course, some quick thinking from Aaron Smith got Rieko Ioane over for New Zealand’s first of many seamlessly easy tries. After that the Bok-game fell apart quicker than a Jenga game involving several drunken sloths. The half-time whistle left the scoreboard in Albany gleaming with a 31 – 0 smile and rumour has it the crew on board the International Space Station reported a “loud clicking noise” over the southern tip of Africa as millions of televisions were switched off simultaneously.

The bloodbath continued in the second half and one couldn’t help but wonder how many more tries New Zealand would’ve scored in the minutes it took the ground staff to get rid of the streaker. So I suppose a hamper with a card reading “From your friends at SARU” will be delivered to said naturist upon his release.

All jokes aside though. The Springboks’ perceived upward curve during their previous six Tests has been brutally exposed for what it is in one game – a false dawn. Several forwards did what they could and the entire backline was non-existent. The players cannot shoulder all of the blame though. Sure, there are several selections which are dubious at best and create the weak links in the chain. However these players are selected by “experts” and all they can do is perform at their best ability. Even if that ability is nowhere near sufficient firepower to take on the world’s best. The majority of Bok fans in South Africa were still reeling from shock when a certain Mr Allister Coetzee came out and said that there were a “number of positives” to be taken from this match, one of which is the defensive effort from his team. This statement was soon followed by Brendan Venter, defence coach, stating that there was “nothing wrong” with the Bok-effort…

Don’t show me a picture of a turd and try convince me it’s the Mona Lisa.

Most pundits in South Africa found these utterings to be arrogant, delusional and downright lazy. If you’re going to attempt to lie to the world, at least put some effort (not the Bok coaching version) into it. What they chose as responses to the humiliation comes across as flippant and irresponsible. No apology, no acceptance of responsibility. Credibility and respect gone. They obviously couldn’t care less what the fans think.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that there is a shortage of skilled coaches in South Africa, especially at senior levels. SARU needs pull their heads out from where the sun doesn’t shine and realize that the services of a Dave Rennie/Scott Robertson/John Plumtree type coach with full, free reign over selection and policy, and a lift on the stance regarding overseas-based players are the first and only logical steps in the arduous task of saving the Springbok from the critically-endangered species list.

If, in fact, that is their priority of course.

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