Bok 'primal mode' praised
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – Even Brian Moore, the former England and Lions hooker, found it impossible not to dish out some grudging laurels to the Springboks on Monday after their rousing victory at Twickenham.
Moore tends to have an axe to grind against South African rugby in his commentary and press reports, but perhaps through gritted teeth he conceded in The Daily Telegraph that the Boks had provided “a masterclass in bloody-minded character” in dismantling supposed favourites England 21-11 on Saturday.
The combative former No 2 added: “Against all but the very best, South Africa have the sheer willpower and strength to prevail.
“I maintain that against a team who are able to come close to matching their forward effort and who can tackle the gain line, the Springboks do not have enough guile or subtlety in attack.
“Whether the reintroduction of their litany of injured players will compensate for this is unknown, but what is certain is that anyone unwise enough to get embroiled in an out-and-out scrap with the Boks is unlikely to win.”
Meanwhile specialist rugby scribe Robert Kitson of The Guardian wrote: “South Africa turned in a strong-arm display which drove several ox-carts across the tender green shoots of English recovery.
“(They) demonstrated how difficult it can be to play against a team whose forwards are pumped up and who have the nous to vary the game when required.”
In the same organ, Paul Hayward said Martin Johnson’s men “went to work in white and limped home black and blue”.
“The autumn’s promising resurgence was smashed by a Springbok fist. South Africa were in primal mode. Not dirty, just merciless, man on man.”
Steven Howard in the mass-circulation Sun tabloid said the Boks had once again looked what they are – World Cup champions.
“They were superior in every department and nowhere more so than at the lineout where the outstanding Victor Matfield was untouchable.
“When it came to the contact areas, England were beaten up.”