I’m beginning to feel like I’m the kid in the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” who actually points out he’s parading around in the nip.
All the headlines this morning talk about these “Unstoppable” Springboks and maybe I don’t know all THAT much about southern hemisphere rugby, but based on what I’ve seen this summer from down there, I just don’t see it.
Of course they outplayed the Lions and they’re four outta four in the Tri Nations with the trophy within their grasp, and you can’t blame them if their opponents keep handing them matches with poor preparation and seemingly unlimited unforced errors.
What we need to see is for them to come up against a side with a canny tactician at the helm, one who is well used to inspiring his charges to get the job done on the day.
I feel Smit & co will face just that very test on November 28 at Croke Park when they come up against Declan Kidney’s Ireland. What a marquee match up that will be. Grand Slam 6 Nations Champs against the (possibly also Grand Slam) Tri Nations Champs. THEN we’ll see just how good the Bokke really are.
If ever there was an indication that a home side was poorly prepared, we had it at the Subiaco Oval yesterday when not only did Richard Brown prove to be the wrong choice of kickoff receiver, but the Wallabies let through two absolutely unforgivable tries within the first ten minutes at home.
The third Springbok try, although created by du Preez’ high bomb of a kick, was a tad fortunate since even if Habana may not be at his World-Player-of-the-Year best, you wouldn’t bet against him to finish when it literally falls into his lap like that. And as for his second touch-down which sealed the bonus point, well, yet again the Boks backline were handed a gap you could drive a Sherman tank through.
I ask you…how many times did the commentators use the phrase “Australia lose the ball going forward”? If it wasn’t a knock-on it was a forward pass or even more senseless illegal play at the breakdown.
And as for the line-outs…well their plan to take quick throws to prevent the visitors spoiling them was all well and good, but that only works if you can guarantee your hooker will deliver a perfect toss every time.
The final score says it all. Despite all their errors, despite all their clear lack of the right kind of preparation, the Aussies STILL got close enough to snag the bonus point.
Maybe Deans should start next week with the same team that finished this one, but whatever he does, he needs to get his players’ heads to a place where they can withstand what we all know the visitors will throw at them and keep next weekend’s game close early on, or it will be déja-vu all over the place in Brisbane.