That was bitterly disappointing. While Rassie’s tactic of giving all the Boks iPads to play Farmville at the Rustenburg training camp may have made the boys from Pretoria bond with the boys from Cape Town by trading tractors, it seems to have completely screwed up their ability to play rugby. The Springboks have gone backwards since they lifted the World Cup trophy four years ago – and all signs point to the coaching staff. PdV will rightly try to point to a British Lions series win, a Tri-Nations title and two away wins in New Zealand as achievements. He’s right, but the problem is – that’s not enough.
When the Boksburg stood at the tippy top of the rugby world in 2007, an era of Bok dominance should have started. The Kiwis were rebuilding, the English were battered into submission and the Aussies were trying to pick up the fragments of the post John Eales era. The rugby world was ours for the taking – and we cocked it up with the usual “new expansive rugby”, political interference and stupid selections.
So on the eve of the World Cup we are back to square one. Pick what’s left of World Cup final team, those who haven’t retired and aren’t injured. That’s all we can offer after 4 years.
In the Boks’ defence they can make the arguments about rustiness and the returns from injury. That’s all we have fellas… the hope that a few more weeks will solve their “rustiness”.
Two players stood out as playing well. The man-crush Heinrich Brussow and the brother of contributor here Dr Jannie – the more ambitiously named Bismarck. But as for the rest of them, the sight of our scrum going backward with John Smit at tight head was all you needed to see. That single scrum must now settle once and for all that John is not a prop.
let’s not forgot that the team that just killed us twice in a row lost to Samoa before they beat us. Samoa! If we don’t seriously pick up our game we are at risk for our worst World Cup ever, not even making it out of the group stages. If the same players who won you a World Cup are delivering trash when it matters, then one can only point to the coaches and administrators as the difference makers.
It’s very flash to have Rassie arrive at the training camp with his new iPad and for him to show how to master Angry Birds and Farmville while he waits on the bench behind Smit and Bismarck, but now we need some real coaching. PdV, Dick Muir and Gary Gold had better stop spending their evenings watching box sets of Richard Pryor and Monty Python for inspiration for their “performance art” media conferences and need to start doing some real coaching.
The knives are sharpening gentlemen… can you hear them?