News24

Avoid complacency, Baby Boks

2012-06-21 12:12

Cape Town – There is so much local hype and expectation around the Baby Boks’ appearance in a home IRB Junior World Championship final that you get the impression some feel they just have to pitch up to knock over arch-rivals New Zealand at Newlands on Friday.

GALLERY: Baby Boks gear up for JWC final

Such excitement is largely understandable, of course, especially given how wretchedly South Africa started the tournament with that insipid, uninspiring loss to Ireland.

The Baby Boks have been on the charge pretty much ever since, and it is certainly to be hoped that they will peak at the right time – in the final – rather than potentially having done so in the amazing second half against England and then extremely competent dismantling of Argentina in the semi-final.

They have come on in leaps and bounds since the Irish fiasco – part of it inadvertently, because the selection bag was shaken considerably following that opening reverse and a few initially intended “first-teamers” quickly sidelined as others like scrumhalf Vian van der Watt, tighthead prop Maks van Dyk and flyhalf Handre Pollard greatly reinvigorated the team as the tournament progressed.

Injuries actually “helped”, too – in certain cases replacements for this reason have also only enhanced the brew.

But the moment of truth now looms, and in some respects it is the Baby Blacks, it might be argued, who enter the game (18:45 kick-off) in a less pressured position.

Rightly or wrongly (and we will find out extremely shortly) plenty of local pundits believe South Africa are firm favourites to clinch a title they have never previously won since the advent of the tournament in this format in 2008, New Zealand hogging it like the pudding-stealing bully at the boarding school dining table.

“Weakest Baby Blacks in five years,” they are trumpeting, perhaps just a little deceptively fuelled by that team’s maiden sampling of defeat at this year’s event to Wales in the pool phase – in a quagmire at Stellenbosch just before the organisers wisely abandoned the Danie Craven Stadium, mind you.

It is also felt that the Baby Boks’ pack will possess too much muscle, especially with its superior infusion of Super Rugby experience.

Even that is a slightly questionable assessment, given South Africa’s occasional angst at scrum-time and a line-out that has been less than a clockwork factor virtually throughout the event.

Let’s consider the crowd factor: a spirited, viral social media campaign has taken root to try to ensure that the showpiece takes place before a record attendance, and it seems already that that wish will be granted, with some 25,000 tickets reportedly sold and a gate in excess of 30,000 thus entirely possible.

Of course the Baby Boks are going to get significantly the lion’s share of raucous support, even if at Newlands there is always the likelihood of some portions of the local community dusting off their All Blacks/Crusaders/Hurricanes gear with some zeal and getting behind the visitors.

But an underdog’s mindset can be a useful ally in circumstances like these, and the burden of expectation certainly seems to lie squarely in the Baby Boks’ hands.

The charge that this is the least inspiring Baby Blacks side for some time may also serve as a motivational tool of some weight for the New Zealanders.

For the record, I nevertheless also lean – albeit not especially comfortably -- toward Wiaan Liebenberg’s lads lifting the spoils.

But only provided that they have the right mindset for fully 80 minutes and haven’t been sucked in too fatally by the tide of home-town optimism.

Very, very few rugby sides wearing a silver fern, let’s not forget, are easy-beats ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Sport24

Comments
  • marcus.daily3 - 2012-06-21 12:20

    Its more the Baby Blacks rather than the Baby Boks that should be worried about complacency. Beaten only once in five years? They know how to win alright. Good luck to both teams.

      nzbro.allblack - 2012-06-21 12:29

      Hope the ref has an escape plan for when the boks lose ... ;)

      cape.maori - 2012-06-21 12:40

      I think the pressure will be on the baby bokkies - huge crowd, home ground advantage, families from Parow to Bothasig and all the rugby experts on this site! Cannot see the baby bokkies handling the physicality and skills of the Baby Blacks. You do not get a "weak" AB team, never!

      stormers.fanbasefull - 2012-06-21 22:08

      You hope the ref has an escape plan? Why? Did you bribe another one?

  • cape.maori - 2012-06-21 12:30

    Of course the Baby Boks are going to get significantly the lion’s share of raucous support, even if at Newlands there is always the likelihood of some portions of the local community dusting off their All Blacks/Crusaders/Hurricanes gear with some zeal and getting behind the visitors.

      nzbro.allblack - 2012-06-21 12:42

      good on ya cape.maori . 13000km is a tad too far for us to be heard shouting our support...lol so we appreciate the local AB supporters in SA for our boys. I read the nasty comments against you for supporting us and yet you march on. well done. It does not matter that we are not of the same nationality, the Black jersey is what makes us AB fans One in unity! The AB's have fans in many countries and NZ is a country made up of people from many different nations of the world. so from us in NZ ...Kia kaha ! cape.maori ( Be Strong )

      cape.maori - 2012-06-21 12:46

      @NZ Bro - thanks mate - we will not be stopped by the unsavoury comments - the BLACK jumper is what counts. We will be at Crusader Park in our numbers, waving our flags and pray for a good game of rugby! Enjoy the game and remember, when the Baby Blacks / AB's are in Cape Town, they are at home. This is what Jerry Collins said a few years ago! Go BABY BLACKS!!

      stormers.fanbasefull - 2012-06-21 22:06

      Crusader Park? You do have a cheek dont you? Typical...but be careful you dont piss the \visitors\ off with your arrogance and get a beating like only a traitor could deserve. Just a tip, boo one of my players while Im close and you will be picking up your teeth with broken arms. Awe ne?

  • Bam - 2012-06-21 12:37

    Dig deep for 80 minutes and good luck.

      Shnez - 2012-06-21 12:40

      only decent comment so far...

      cape.maori - 2012-06-21 12:41

      Luck is what the bokkies will need! It is rugby, after all!

      stormers.fanbasefull - 2012-06-21 22:19

      Exactly CapeMaori, the Bokkies will need more than luck. They after all are playing the biggest cheats in rugby. Did the ref confirm the score yet or did we manage to get a ref who doesnt like to be bribed? Thankfully the match is not played in the land of the long white lie .....uhm cloud, i mean cloud. Hopefully yoy dont revert to the poison excuse again.

  • lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-06-21 12:41

    Good luck Baby Boks,bring that cup home. Good luck to the Big Boks as well...a whitewash will be awesome. Speak again Tuesday!!!!!!!!

      cape.maori - 2012-06-21 12:42

      They are at home!

  • hanno.uys.5 - 2012-06-21 12:49

    "There is so much local hype and expectation around the Baby Boks’ appearance in a home IRB Junior World Championship final that you get the impression some feel they just have to pitch up to knock over arch-rivals New Zealand at Newlands on Friday. Such excitement is largely understandable, of course, especially given how wretchedly South Africa started the tournament with that insipid, uninspiring loss to Ireland." What??? Understandable? The fact that you think the Baby Boks have any reason to be complacent or that any South African who knows their rugby think the Bby Boks just have to show is not at all understandable! Also consider the huge All Black fan base in the Cape, this Baby Boks will achieve a great wonder if they do manage to beat the invincible All Blacks!

      Stirrer - 2012-06-21 14:13

      Hanno, you need to learn how to read Rob Houwing (Chief writer)'s flowery rhetoric. Instructions: Read every fifth word. If that word is an adjective, skip and move on to the next one (note: you might have to skip many words). Once you have selected the correct words, try to form it into a coherent sentence. If you succeed, make sure the formed sentence has anything to do with the headline. Take with a pinch of salt.

      hanno.uys.5 - 2012-06-21 16:10

      Oh well I guess all those who thumbs down my comment expect the Baby Boks to "just pitch up" to knock over the Baby Blacks then.... Sad....you are in for a surprise!

  • AmosMoledi - 2012-06-21 15:01

    Newlands can accomodate 40k people. Why not sell all the sits?

  • Jacobus - 2012-06-21 21:09

    gogogoogogogogogogo bokkiesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss, julle kan wennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

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