It’s early days, but I’ve got Springbok deja vu all over again. That feeling in the pit of your stomach that despite all of this amazing talent available to the Bok rugby team, somehow between the coaching staff and the administrators they’ve managed to screw it up – again.
You know that one where you watch the Junior World Championships and you get all excited thinking about that talent that is available to future Bok squads? You start selecting your “dream team” Springbok squad in April and start to picture a Bok team putting 50 on New Zealand. You see Heinrich Brussouw in all the glorious splendor that is his natural wonder and you think to yourself… “Yes… this can happen”.
There’s a flash of inspiration from some newcomer to the scene. A young Francois Steyn or Pat Lambie. A new looseforward capable of scrounging possession away from Richie McCaw in a Super 15 game and also capable of smuggling an entire array of donuts and cigarettes from Pollsmoor Prison. A backline player so fast, with a step so vicious…. Maybe it is the complete flyhalf.
You see the team they pick. It usually starts with Zane “the Crazy Train” Kirchner getting a first mention. They pick a few of the flash players to keep your spirits alive (like a hopeless romantic in the weeks before the matric dance), but the administrators also baffle you by refusing to pick a supremely talented player because he is a “fetcher” and not a “ball carrier”. The coach persists in selecting an old fart who is way past his sell by date. The pre-match interviews with the Bok coach resemble the deranged droolings of a mad man. You start to worry.
The player that you always wanted to see in a Bok jersey, that you made a fool of yourself for at that pub after work, is now wearing the Green and Gold. But it is not the thing of beauty you wanted it to be. No… it is an abomination. There is no silky footwork to be seen. Only a relentless charging up the middle like something out of BlackAdder (that’s exactly why they’ll never expect it again!).
The Boks struggle and stutter against a very mediocre opposition. In fact, it appears as though they have never practiced together but met at a Live Action Role Playing conference for fans of Harry Potter the day before the test match.
And then you know… it’s going to be a long cold winter of discontent.