Gary Boshoff

Easy does it ...

2011-09-23 12:24
Gary Boshoff
Gary Boshoff

The Springboks are flying high indeed.  What with scores of 49-3 and 87-0 in recent weeks, the very near upset against Wales has long been forgotten – history I say!

Fanatical Springbok fans are very easily blinded by the scoreboard and would like to believe that the almighty Springboks are invincible, this despite the below par performance against the Welsh and the much anticipated clash against the very physical Samoans still looming large ahead of the play-offs.

So high is the confidence levels of some fans that they are already speculating about who South Africa will face in the final.  But, us realists, we know, it is never that simple and just never ever that easy.

A quick reality check tells me that despite the scintillating form displayed by the springboks as of late, it has been against two teams that are respectively placed 14th and 19th in the IRB rankings.  In fact, it confirms that we expected the Springboks to win these two matches by significant margins, which result should not have come as a big surprise or which should not warrant undue optimism about the Springboks’ chances for the Play-offs.  Further to the mentioned expected outcomes against Fiji and Namibia, one should also remember that the quality performance of the Welsh, both at the breakdowns and in the scrums and line-outs shocked the Springboks out of their slumber into more serious focus and application – this was clearly visible in the players’ body language and levels of urgency in both the Fiji and Namibia games.

The clash against Samoa will raise the intensity back to what it was against Wales and it is in this game that the Springboks will have to show that they are capable of lifting their standards when it is matched by the opposition – this match will tell us if the Springboks are ready (both mentally and physically) for the Wallabies or Irish in the Quarter-finals.  

The Samoans are going to throw everything at the Springboks: in this match injuries will be a big worry for De Villiers as the Samoans will be intent on being overly physical, very much aware of De Villiers’ need to shelter his key players from unnecessary niggle.  Let’s hope De Villiers unleashes Bismarck Du Plessis against them!  A strong dose of Bismarck power and confidence is just what the Springboks need ahead of the real battle for the Webb Ellis Cup!

So while things might be looking very rosy for the Springboks at the moment, it might just be the calm before three very big storms – Samoa, Australia and New Zealand! 

Hold your breath for bruising battles and some nail-biting tension ahead!

Turning to the ABSA Currie Cup where the Blue Bulls are about to exit the title race when they face the Lions at Coca Cola Park.  The Blue Bulls find themselves in a very awkward situation in that if they continue to stutter through the latter part of the competition in the same way they have since the start, they might find themselves in sixth position on the log at the end of the competition. This begs the question yet again: with the Currie Cup being reduced to six teams from 2012, does this mean the Blue Bulls (if they end in sixth position) will have to play promotion-relegation against the EP Kings/Boland, depending on which of the two finish top of the ABSA First Division log? How will SARU justify an ABSA Currie Cup Competition without the Blue Bulls?  If the EP Kings’ introduction to Super Rugby in 2013 is to be meaningful, they will have to play in the Premier Division in 2012! What then if they lose the promotion-relegation play-offs yet again?

This scenario presents SARU with a conundrum which seems impossible to solve without harmful consequences. Let’s hope it doesn’t have to come to that.

Whatever happens, 2012 is set to be a turning point for both the Currie Cup and Super Rugby Competitions in that SARU will also have to announce the process of how the EP Kings will be included into the Super Rugby Competition in 2013.

Gary Boshoff is a former SARU player and current Afrikaans rugby commentator on SuperSport.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    gary boshoff  |  springboks  |  currie cup

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