Adam Wakefield

Springboks still in the Stone Age

Listening to Nick Mallett, Naas Botha and Ashwin Willemse in the SuperSport studio following one of the worst and most inept Springbok performances in recent memory on Saturday night against Argentina in Mendoza, the problems in the Springboks’ game became more apparent.

A Springbok team which exists in the 21st century seems to be incapable of progressing beyond the Stone Age mentality of “Hulk smash!”, trying to physically dominate opponents, kicking the ball when out of ideas.

Our No 10 often doesn’t receive the ball from our No 9, who looks a far better wing than scrumhalf. Jean de Villiers said after the match the team were not happy (really?) with the performance and didn’t take their opportunities. How can a team take opportunities when it appears producing them is more a matter of luck than skills? South Africa didn’t deserve to draw, let alone win.

The 16-16 draw was a great result for the hosts, who brought more to the table and deserved the scalp of this Springbok outfit. The Pumas showed more intent and were it not for Frans Steyn’s charge down and try, Argentina would’ve deservedly walked away with the spoils.

Mallett spoke about how the Springboks, Stormers and Bulls all sought to win games through sheer physical domination. It may work at Super Rugby level the former Springbok coach said, but at international level, with this Test and the England Test in Port Elizabeth being examples, simply hoping to bash your opponent into submission is so robotic it becomes predictable.

Botha’s wry comment that even though all three of them were in the studio thousands of kilometres away from the game, they knew players were not going to pass, so if that’s what they thought, imagine the opposition. Has South Africa become that predictable? New Zealand and Australia will punish a performance like the one in Mendoza.

Meyer needs to realise that one size does not fit all and move away from the Bulls mentality of rugby, which he helped design. On current from, the All Blacks will walk all over this Springbok outfit.

Perhaps that is the rude awakening this Springbok team requires because right now, while Meyer as coach may be undefeated, patience among Springbok fans is already wearing thin.