Now that the excitement of the crazy last 10 minutes at Newlands has subsided, maybe it’s time for a reality check for the Springboks and their supporters – regardless of what happens at Ellis Park this coming week, the All Blacks remain top of the southern hemisphere pile and there is still a lot of work to be done before their position will be properly challenged.
Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver recently called for a rotation of Rugby Championship games because he believed playing the All Blacks twice at the start of the tournament had killed off local interest.
After the Wallabies deflated in the final ten minutes in Cape Town, Pulver’s latest brainwave could be pleading to SANZAR that Australia does not play any important Rugby Championship matches away from home, and that the Springboks are barred from using their reserves bench.
These are kooky times, and as the frazzled ARU brain’s trust has made it quite clear, the Wallabies need every bit of help they can get.
Still it is all too late to stop the Mandela Plate, like the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship silverware from remaining for another year thousands of kilometres away from the ARU’s bare trophy cabinet.
Launching pads don’t get much better. With the pressure now off, the All Blacks board a flight to Johannesburg today with strut, swagger and no inhibitions.
Yesterday’s four-try 34-13 win over the Pumas clinched a third successive Rugby Championship title but, more importantly, saw the All Blacks regain their attacking groove.
After two weeks battling New Zealand rain they threw off the shackles in La Plata and now have the freedom to craft a gameplan without worrying about any tournament permutations.
To further enhance their 22-test unbeaten run they will be intent on harnessing that flamboyance for a blockbuster clash of styles rematch with the Springboks.
It was a weekend of bonus-point victories in the ABSA Currie Cup as all the winning sides, except for the Vodacom Blue Bulls, bagged 5 Log points from their matches to maintain comfortable log positions with an eye on the playoff stages.
In Friday’s matches DHL Western Province defeated the Steval Pumas 37-23 in Nelspruit and the Vodacom Blue Bulls beat the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 31-22 in Bloemfontein. On Saturday the Cell C Sharks thumped the EP Kings 53-24 in Durban and the Xerox Golden Lions registered a convincing 46-8 victory against GWK Griquas in Kimberley.
Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), accompanied by a Springbok delegation on Friday visited the recuperating former “Coloured Springboks” captain Salie Fredericks at his house in Gordon’s Bay.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, team manager Ian Schwartz, captain Jean de Villiers and vice-captain Victor Matfield accompanied Mr Hoskins, as they wished Mr Fredericks well with his recovery from surgery.
Fredericks, who was labelled as the “Black Frik du Preez” by some newspapers in his playing days, played more than 200 provincial matches for Western Province in competitions of the former South African Coloured Rugby Football Board, and later the non-racial and anti-apartheid South African Rugby Union.
The formidable presence of No 8 Duane Vermeulen could be missing from the Springbok arsenal when they play their final Rugby Championship match of the year against the All Blacks at Ellis Park next Saturday.
Vermeulen left the field late in the second half with a rib injury, and with Schalk Burger having already come onto the field for Teboho Mohoje, that meant that a lock, Victor Matfield, had to take up position on the side of the scrum.
Meyer Praises fit, gutsy Boks
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Saturday applauded the fitness and never-say-die attitude of his team in defeating Australia 28-10 in the Rugby Championship at DHL Newlands.
The Springboks scored three tries in the last ten minutes to seal a bonus point victory.
“We played great rugby at times in the first half, but their defence was great. We became a bit frustrated because of that, but in the second half the fitness levels and impact from the bench was massive for us; I told our conditioning coach Basil Carzis as much afterwards,” Meyer said.
Van die land se rugbykenners was gister nét so verstom deur die Springbokke se fantastiese eindpoging teen die Wallabies op Nuweland, as die meeste rugbykykers.
De Wet Barry:
“Daar was ’n lang tyd dat ons glad nie die bal gehad het nie, waarin ek regtig baie bekommerd was,” het De Wet Barry, ’n voormalige Springbok-senter, gesê.
“Dit was wonderlik dat ons verdediging gehou het en toe ons eers weer die bal kry, het die wedstryd geswaai.”
Volgens Barry was die Bok-agsteman Duan Vermeulen uitstekend tot hy beseer is.
“Hy het uitgetroon op die verdediging en by die afbreekpunte.”
Volgens Barry het Heyneke Meyer boonop dié keer sy plaasvervangers reg aangewend.
Springboks (5) 28 / 10 (10) Wallabies (Final Score)
The South African Springboks and Australian Wallabies did battle in The Rugby Championship at
Newlands Stadium, Cape Town at 17:00 SA Time (15:00 GMT, 01:00 Sunday AEST).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
Sharks 53 / 24 EP Kings (Final Score)
The Cell C Sharks and Eastern Province Kings did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division at
Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban at 14:00 SA Time (12:00 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
If there was a World Cup without the All Blacks, we would have a great chance of lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy. Unfortunately that isn’t going to happen.
I say this because perhaps we may have been a little harsh in our criticism of the Wallabies in relation to our neighbours across the ditch.
The Wallabies are in a predicament, along with South Africa and Argentina. The three of us contest a competition against a side who right now are clearly the best rugby-playing nation.
The Wallabies have their ammunition for a drought-busting Newlands ambush thanks to derogatory newspaper comments that have made the Springboks wince.
Coach Ewen McKenzie is certain to plaster the back-page of the Cape Times over the Australian dressing room wall on Saturday night after their chief rugby writer claimed the Wallabies didn’t deserve to be on the same field as South Africa.
Cape Town – Pay-channel SuperSport has responded after Western Province and Lions fans were upset that their teams’ Currie Cup games will not be shown live this weekend.
Scheduling of games in the premier all-domestic competition has been affected by the clash on Saturday with the Rugby Championship Test between the Springbok and Wallabies at Newlands (17:05 kickoff), meaning that two Currie Cup games are down for Friday and another pair on Saturday.
The Springbok starting line-up to face Australia shows three changes, with Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje and Francois Hougaard included for Saturday’s fifth round Test in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at DHL Newlands in Cape Town.
Francois Louw’s injury means a positional switch for Marcell Coetzee in the starting team. There is a further four changes on the bench, with Cobus Reinach in line to make his Springbok debut alongside the experienced trio of Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger and JP Pietersen.
Let me start off this week’s SuperBru thread by saying “Thanks for nothing, Sharks!”
Typical of the Cell C Sharks, play like plonkers for most of the Currie Cup, but then turn it on just in time to mess up everyone’s GSP.
After losses to the Steval Pumas and then at home to the GWK Griquas, not many gave them a chance at Loftus. Well done to the Sharks though, but it must be added that the Blue Bulls looked like plonkers on Saturday.
The Pumas are looking to take down one more “big” team in their quest to obtain a playoff spot which will, ultimately, make for a successful season.
The Mbombela Stadium has become a fortress for the Nelspruit side as they are yet to be beaten at the venue in the campaign and coach Jimmy Stonehouse is hoping to keep it that way.
Khaya Majola will start at flank for the Sharks when they host the EP Kings in a Currie Cup clash at Kings Park on Saturday.
Majola, a former SA Under-20 player, takes over the openside role from Jacques Botes, who was ruled out with a SC joint injury. It will be Majola’s first Currie Cup start.
Forwards coach Paul Anthony says they expect a tough game.
“We have to play well and have a good game, we have to man up defensively and we just have to keep winning,” Anthony said via a statement released to the media.
A former high-ranking Australian rugby union official once remarked: ‘that the best thing about South Africa was QF 64′. In other words, the flight home!
The comment, which was made within the earshot of several players, drew a laugh at the time; but it also probably served to sum up why the Wallabies haven’t been as successful in the Republic during the professional era as they should have been.
Simply, the country intimidates.
Storming Brumbies winger Joe Tomane makes his long-awaited return to Test rugby in three changes to the Wallabies’ starting line-up for their clash with South Africa.
Tomane was named on the wing alongside 97-Test veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper, who has recovered from a neck injury, while Queensland hooker Saia Fainga’a was given the nod ahead of Reds teammate James Hanson.
Mark Fleming asked: Where are you working now?
Peter de Villiers: At UWC as their director of rugby. To date, my role has mostly consisted of putting structures in place and upskilling the coaches. The biggest tasks were getting the coaches to buy into something that didn’t previously exist and making the players believe in themselves.
The player at the centre of a race storm surrounding the Springboks says he has no choice but to ignore the controversy created by his selection.
Rookie breakaway Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje was named ahead of 71-Test veteran Schalk Burger to start against the Wallabies this weekend and was thrust headlong into a fierce debate over the politics surrounding rugby in South Africa.
A racial row has erupted in South Africa on the eve of the Wallabies’ showdown with the Springboks.
A selection battle between rising Cheetahs star Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje and World Cup winner Schalk Burger has pitted sections of the South African media against Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer.
The battle was eventually won by Mohoje, with Burger selected on the bench for the Test.
Even as he spoke at Wednesday’s press conference here, a stiff north-wester – so often the city’s rain-preceding wind – howled and dark clouds engulfed Table Mountain, not from the end that characterises the trademark lilywhite summer “tablecloth”.
Yet a notably recurring theme from Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was his wish for a precipitation-free Castle Rugby Championship Test match against the Wallabies at Newlands on Saturday.
Having suffered back-to-back away defeats – albeit by narrow margins – the Springboks’ chances of winning the Rugby Championship are now balanced on a knife’s edge.
While home ground advantage should offer the Springboks some solace, from personal experience, pressure is magnified on home soil.
The expectation is that the Springboks should beat the Wallabies comfortably at Newlands on Saturday, and I feel that’s a horrible position for a team to find itself in.
The All Blacks had a mantra through the last World Cup, one that has continued to serve them well.
“Expect the unexpected and deal with it” was a change of philosophy after years of striving to leave no stone unturned in the quest for a perfect preparation.
Somewhere along the way they realized that planning to have the best players in the best shape, and the team functioning tickety-boo on the day was unrealistic. It became more about embracing pressure and expectation, and being able to adjust when things inevitably go wrong.
In the years of the old Tri-Nations competition competed for by South Africa, New Zealand and Australia it was universally agreed that the Springboks were at a disadvantage because of the travel schedule.
That may not have changed now that the premier southern hemisphere competition has morphed into the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
At least that is the view of Bok defence coach John McFarland, who believes that the South Africans have it tough in being the only side in the new competition, which now also includes Argentina, who have to play three consecutive matches away.
The good news for DHL Western Province fans is that explosive winger Seabelo Senatla, who has been missed by the Cape side during his injury enforced absence, will be back for the play-off rounds of the Absa Currie Cup.
Senatla has linked up with the Springboks during their build-up to Saturday’s test match against Australia at Newlands for the purpose of picking up experience that could come in useful later in his career.
He has been unable to train, but according to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts he is being monitored by the Bok Sevens medical team. He is in the final stages of rehabilitation from his ankle injury and will soon be back on the field.
Naturally there has been plenty to discuss since New Zealand defeated the Springboks in Wellington and Australia grabbed their second win of the Championship over Los Pumas.
One man though has stolen the headlines since Aaron Cruden’s ill-advised late night drinking session caused him to miss the flight to Buenos Aires.
His two-match suspension is completely the right call in the eye of Krige, who described his actions as “bordering on criminal.”
South Africa’s aggressive new breakdown tactics will leave them exposed to penalties and short on tacklers out wide, the Wallabies believe, while Australia’s forwards coach Andrew Blades has taken aim at Victor Matfield for trying to manipulate referees.
The Wallabies woke up in Cape Town to headlines of their scrum “tricks” and articles suggesting they manipulated referees into giving them penalties rather than earning them.
And still ringing fresh in their ears is Matfield’s comments after his side lost 24-23 in Perth three weeks ago, in which he questioned the legality of the Wallabies’ tactics in stopping the Boks’ rolling maul.
Blades brushed off the barbs as Australia prepares to face South Africa this weekend at Newlands, where they have not won since 1992.
DHL WP, the 2012 Absa Currie Cup winners and 2013 finalists, will take on the Steval Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium with vice-captain Pat Cilliers back at tighthead prop and Brok Harris moving down to the bench.
Scrumhalf Nic Groom and utility back Michael van der Spuy will join Harris on the bench this week, with coach Coetzee once again reverting to a more traditional four / three split (forwards / backs) amongst his replacements.
The Springboks want to keep the Wallabies guessing over who will fill the blindside flanker’s role for them in Saturday’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash at Newlands for as long as possible.
The Bok team is to be announced at lunch time on Wednesday, and more clarity will probably be offered on what the starting line-up will look like in Saturday’s match when the Boks train in a session that is open to the media and public at Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday.
Jan Serfontein is hoping to see more attacking ball this weekend than he has in his first two Tests at outside centre for the Springboks.
Having played all of his rugby at No.12, Serfontein was picked outside captain Jean de Villiers in the two Rugby Championship away defeats to Australia and New Zealand which saw him make more of an impact on defence than attack.
Xerox Golden Lions:
Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man side to take on Griquas in a Currie Cup match in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon.
In the forwards, prop Jacques van Rooyen and flank Warwick Tecklenburg will both start the match after moving up from the bench.
Meanwhile, in the backline, Ross Cronje will start at scrumhalf and Howard Mnisi will come in at inside centre.
Wales’ Nigel Owens will be the man with the whistle for the Springboks’ must-win Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Newlands on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:05 SA Time.
In a tournament blighted by sub-standard officiating, Heyneke Meyer’s men will be hoping Owens has a controversy-free match as they look to keep their title hopes alive with a bonus-point victory in Cape Town.
Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke says they will keep backing their processes in order to get their game plan right.
The Bulls suffered another disappointing loss at the weekend when the Sharks beat them 26-15 at Loftus Versfeld.
Ludeke said they have no excuses for the loss and have to learn to handle the pressure situations better.
“It was especially our decision making which cost us. There were times when we needed to play tactically, but then carried the ball and lost it at the breakdowns instead,” Ludeke said.