You have to feel for the Boks on tour. It has been brutal.
They have been pounded in New Zealand over the past two weeks, by a fired up, never-say-die All Blacks side that was waiting to peak against the Springboks. Now they face a Robbie Deans-inspired Wallabies side in SunCorp stadium Brisbane — a stadium where the Wallabies have come out tops in the last five encounters between the two sides, dating back to the 1970s.
That is a fearsome statistic, but it is also one that Peter de Villiers and his Springboks can use to fire up themselves and unleash the reserve Springbok mojo, that we have been waiting for in the Tri-Nations — that is if you are a South African supporter.
But can the Springboks summon these reserves?
Most of us watched the the body language of the All Blacks during and after the Haka over the last two Test matches and compared this to the sleepy doe-eyed look of the Springboks watching their arch rivals going through their Maori war dance and you just have to hand it to the Kiwi’s that they took it to the next level with the microphones “strategically” placed in front of the All Blacks, so that the Haka war cry resonated in and around the sell out stadium.
Not bad to increase the home side advantage by adding in the microphones and speakers with close ups going on to the big screen in the Westpac and Eden Park stadiums. In my view the Boks were overwhelmed before kick off and had no answer to the ferocious tenacity of the All Blacks, except that they retorted with Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw’s yellow card offenses that allowed more points to be piled on to the scoreboard.
Those grievious bodily harm offenses put the Springboks in a freefall — so what awaits them in Brisbane this Saturday.
Robbie Deans and his Wallabies have been waiting for this Saturday’s clash against the Springboks for a very long time and have taken time out to prepare, analyse and condition themselves for this first of their Tri-Nations matches.
The Springboks are being delivered to them, as tenderised Springbok game steaks, coming off a one-two loss at the hands of the All Blacks and having lost the winning momentum.
As with all these international test matches there are turning points and the Springboks face their’s on Saturday against the Wallabies.
If they are the fierce South African rugby athletes with big match temperament, that we know them to be, they will have now realised that playing with one man short for 20 minutes makes it near impossible to recover from and will run the Aussies ragged.
The All Blacks game showed that the team that showed the quicker reflex gained the extra metre and after five phases had points on the board.
The lesson to be learned there is to introduce some of that Sevens style Bok rugby this Saturday and play the Wallabies on the run. If the Wallabies mess up — as they will — punish them with Morne Steyn’s boot in their half.
If not, it will be a dismal 6-0 record that the Springboks will have rounded off for the Wallabies. So a win in Brisbane – with a bonus point – is absolutely critical before returning to South Africa to face these buggers again.