If Saturday’s test match doesn’t get you excited that little rugby fan inside of you has died

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Another Supersport viewer about to be disappointed by the standard of Hugh Bladen’s commentary.

Saturday is pretty much as good as it gets for a rugby fan. A rising South African side, buoyed by a vicious assault of the Wallabies, taking on the mighty All Blacks in New Zealand. If you’re not up for this, you’re not for up for rugby anymore.  That little bright eyed kid inside of you who used to set the alarm clock early to wake up and watch the Boks playing in New Zealand may just have been clubbed into submission after too many years of false hopes.

The cynic in me says that Heyneke’s new Bok team hasn’t been capable of putting together two good performances in a row. That any team that includes Zane Kirchner just can’t be that good. That there are still one or two key things wrong in selection, that Ruan “lazy peasant” Pienaar is not the answer at 9, that Flip Van De Merwe on the bench lowers the whole tone of the squad, not to mention the average hair style street cred. That while the All Blacks in New Zealand are most definitely beatable, this Bok team isn’t quite at that level yet. I’d love to be wrong about this. After all, watching the Boks taking apart the Wallabies and just dismantling them like a disturbed toddler pulling the legs of a stick insect was pretty friggin’ awesome. How great it would be to watch a Bok pack rumble over a retreating All Black scrum?

But then… that not’s going to happen is it? That’s why the All Black are the number one team in the world. Because you don’t just arrive in New Zealand, talk up a good game to the press, psych up your front row half an hour before kickoff by slapping them in the face and showing them pictures of Bobby Skinstad hanging out with their wives and then simply win in New Zealand. Just ask countless Bok teams who’ve been there before and spoken about “having a good feeling” in the days leading up to the ultimate test.

Still. Around the Republic on Saturday, the skottle braai breakfasts will be smoking, the early morning drinkers will be getting to ready to rumble in the bars across the Cape Flats. Kiwis will be talking down their own team ahead of the renewing of the struggle with the “old rival”. Ex-pat Saffers living in New Zealand will feel all kinds of inner turmoil. And you can bet there is going to be some awkward family get-togethers across the Western Cape after final whistle. This is going to be EPIC!

Springbok rugby fans torn between cynicism and wildly misguided hope this year – again

In offices and pubs around the country, South African rugby fans are sharply divided into two camps.  On one hand, we have the dreamers, the romantics, the hopeful misfits.  They can be heard consoling the cynics with phrases like:

“Yes, but I’ve got a good feeling this year” and the oft-repeated “Shooo – but there’s a lot of depth in South African rugby these days, eh?  I was just watching the Happy Valley under 11s playing against the Paarl girls’ team and man – this country has no shortage of quality fly-halves.”

This is the camp that thinks Morne Steyn is going to come right this year, that picking Fourie Du Preez is sign of Heyneke’s under appreciated genius and that when we click we’re going to “put fifty on the All Blacks”. Continue Reading