The Springboks have made South Africans proud in 2013, with 10 wins from 12 Tests, the only blight on their record 2 losses against the world’s No 1 side, the All Blacks from New Zealand. South Africa beat France on the weekend by 19 / 10 at Stade de France in Paris, capping off an undefeated tour.
But let’s put those 2 losses into some perspective… in New Zealand the Springboks were on the wrong side of poor reffereeing by Romain Poite, the French referee in charge of that match, resulting in the fact that the Springboks had to play 48 minutes without Bismarck du Plessis. In those circumstances, the Springboks were still highly competative and probably the most pleasing part was that the Springbok forwards dominated large parts of the game. The Springboks lost that one though, as the slow All Black poison came through for the home side in the end.
In South Africa it was do or die for the Springboks… go out and score 4 tries against the All Blacks and win by more than 7 was the challenge in The Rugby Championship, a tall order indeed! The Springboks managed their 4 tries but once again the slow poison of New Zealand worked in their fafour and they came back from behind in the last quarter to score their fourth and ultimately their fifth try, to also beat the Springboks.
So, well done to the All Blacks… and while we’re at it, well done on an All Black season of 14 wins from 14 Tests, what an enviable record, New Zealand certainly deserve the No 1 world crown at this juncture in time!
The positive side of the coin however for the Springboks is that South Africans, and the world in general, now realistically give the Springboks a chance against the All Blacks in every Test match, even away from home. Having looked at results on the End Of Year Tours by both the Springboks and All Blacks, it can also be argued that the Springboks had a slightly better tour north compared to the All Blacks, specially with the All Blacks only managing a last gasp win against Ireland with a try long after the hooter had sounded for full time on Sunday night. The Springboks also only conceded 1 solitary and fortunate try on the whole of the tour up north, whilst the All Blacks conceded far more.
Looking to the future of Springbok rugby, Heyneke Meyer said after the weekend’s Test against France that Jean de villiers will stay Springbok captain in 2014 and the total message out of the Springbok camp is that the Springboks will now aspire to the No 1 ranking spot in world rugby, from 2014 and thereafter.
That certainly implies that Heyneke Meyer wants to and needs to beat the All Blacks… but it does not stop there, seeing as the Springboks want to go to No 1, notwithstanding how or what the All Blacks do.
The Springboks certainly have improved their chances in 2013 to aspire to a World Cup win in 2015, in fact they are fast becomming joint favourites with the All Blacks in the race to this title.