Bok depth can trump All Blacks

2011-09-24 14:05

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - Don’t get me wrong, the New Zealand “1st XV” is one mean rugby side … quite rightly stationed at present as best on the planet in rankings terms.

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They only underlined this once more as a three-try blitz in the space of only 11 first-half minutes largely paved the way for a 20-point triumph over France in the much-hyped RWC 2011 meeting at Eden Park on Saturday.

The now 100-cap Richie McCaw and his men certainly got the proverbial job done, eventually totaling five tries to two against the clearly second-fiddle French and dotting some seriously handsome ones, into the bargain.

Of course there was much debate around the “creative” composition of the French team, but they still gave good game-time to many of their supposed heavyweights and only confirmed, really, that they are currently a pretty rank-and-file Six Nations outfit - one which even suffered the indignity of defeat in Italy earlier this year.

A signal of their lower aspirations these days, I felt, was the exaggerated way in which centre Maxime Mermoz celebrated his intercept try midway through the second half - it was not as though it gave any clue that a concerted French revival was in the offing (it wasn’t), and all it did was reduce the deficit at the time to 19 points!

Nor did France especially relish the admirably front-on defensive commitment of so many All Black challengers, forward and back alike: it may well have explained several near-amateurish fumbles a split second before earnest “contact” came in.

During their main period of majesty in the first period, the All Blacks’ known backline “flair factor” came pleasurably to the fore, as holes across the advantage line were punched with glee, polish and pace.

And yet, for all that, a part of me was left after the final whistle wondering whether New Zealand had really cashed in on the foundations they’d forged for an arguably even bigger score-line in their favour.

One school of thought might argue with good reason that Graham Henry and his charges are shrewd characters who know when to step off a pedal and simply save petrol for different demands later in the tournament - after all, for what it mattered, the bonus point was in the bag as early as the 42nd minute.

Personally, I was left thinking that, with the notable exception of the ultra-dynamic Sonny Bill Williams, the bench which they emptied in the second half - admittedly partially for injury reasons as Israel Dagg and Adam Thomson worryingly limped off - perhaps doesn’t give them as much renewed oomph as a Springbok one quite probably would.

With respect, in the current climate, Andrew Hore most certainly isn’t Bismarck du Plessis, Ali Williams arguably isn’t as prominent and hungry as the seemingly ageless Danie Rossouw, and Andy Ellis hasn’t yet illuminated this World Cup in the manner Francois Hougaard has - in both a scrumhalf and left wing capacity in his case, of course.

And when the All Blacks, for instance, swap one squat, strong-thighed Franks brother for another on the tighthead side of the scrum, you are not providing the sort of thunderous leg-drive in the loose and tight-loose that is a potentially game-breaking hallmark of Bok loosehead reserve Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira.

This remains a very, very big “if”, do note, but if South Africa happen to be playing New Zealand in a semi-final and these great foes are neck-and-neck with 20-25 minutes or so to go, I’m just beginning to think my money would be leaning a tad toward the Boks because of the particularly rich fresh-legs impetus and ambition at their disposal …


  • AgPseDaddy - 2011-09-24 14:20

    Stop dreaming and get real!!!!!!

      nzbro - 2011-09-25 02:20

      [Bok depth can trump All Blacks] ...????? I dont think I even need to respond much to this wishful thinking of the author and instead I shall just leave it to Deans to sort out when he gets his chance again.The author obviously believes the win against fiji, namibia & the like ranked very low is the qualifying factor in his wishful conclusion, No doubt about it , the boks are now unhappy that france could not "knock us out again". At some point they might have to face our wrath and our current form is the most awesome yet.That is if they actually manage to beat Oz, which I very much doubt. See ya later matey ! There is a BLACK wave approaching & it aint going away.Be afraid...Be very afraid.

      odysseus - 2011-09-25 08:17

      Perhaps the black wave will turn into a ripple... perhaps the threat of Oz gold will fizzle into canary yellow. And perhaps the Springboks will lose the "spring"... This is the world cup.... badly timed injuries, curved balls, drama and upsets are all a part of it....I really wouldn't make any brazen statements about who is going to do what to who........ for me it's travel hopefully rather than arrive before my time.. go bokke..

      NickArmstron - 2011-09-25 08:28

      Great article, Rob! :) AgPseDaddy and nzbro - your short-sightedness, bias, and lack of any rugby acumen - is plain for all to see. "The author" of this article did not 'loud and proud' state the Boks will beat NZ - just that we could - based on the strength of our bench. He is quite correct in stating that our bench IS more potent than the All Blacks' bench (possibly for the first time snce 1998?)... All too often in recent years (eg 2007 Tri-Nations in Durban; last year at Soccer City - although a cheating ref and linesman did contrive to 'miss' (how, I don't know) a crucial, 1 metre, forward pass that lead to McCaw's controversial, TMO, try that swung the game; amongst others) - the All Blacks' bench has powered them past Boks in the final 10/15 minutes, after we had been leading (on occasion - quite comfortably) up to that stage...... Although - it must be remembered - our bench has been 'compromised' in the past by reasons of selection - having to 'accommodate' criteria beyond just rugby talent alone...... So - yes - Rob is quite correct - the Boks do have, arguably, the strongest, most powerful, 'explosive' bench at the RWC - certainly stronger than the AB bench as it stands... :) By the way - the plane leaves for NZ at 9am tomorrow - you guys got your one-way tickets yet...??? Lekker living in SA, ne..?? LOL!

      nzbro - 2011-09-25 10:33

      ...seems like lots of people around the world noticed how awesome the All Blacks are:I will leave this tidbit below for you lot to digest and squirm some more. [A black wave is approaching...] World's rugby media reacts: 'Hail the new world champions' quote" "Sleeping easy England, Scotland and Argentina? "Trust not - and you shouldn't be after that powerhouse performance by the All Blacks at Eden Park. One of you will be facing New Zealand on Oct 9, so have a bungy jump or throw a dwarf while you can." quote: ["I've watched all the big teams in this competition and nothing comes close to the levels New Zealand reached in the first half. Is this World Cup done and dusted? Leaving Eden Park, it felt like it."]

      Charlie the man - 2011-09-25 12:07

      As for your bias comments please have a look at which team has the least points scored against them so far and not to mention in which group this team appears (group of death according to all media prior to the start of this world cup) the BOKKE you idiot. We are going to make the semis and yes we are going to crush your dreams again and yes we are going to be the first to win a world cup back to back.

      amabok - 2011-09-25 12:12

      nzbro why you trolling SA rugby site? A little lonely at the arse-end of the world? The sheep not keeping you satisfied?

      nzbro - 2011-09-25 19:24

      I visit many sites including ours in NZ & Oz but this sa site provides immeasurable comedy & entertainment.If I was a comedian I would get lots of material just from you blinkered lot.More important I feel the need to keep you in touch with your bok reality because you can go astray at every point scored even if it makes no difference in the long term.C ya later

  • Andrew Griffiths - 2011-09-24 14:25

    25 years and counting since they last won a trophy that counts. You didn't mention BMT Rob. Choke o'clock coming to an All Black near you soon. Don't miss it. Pressure is a funny thing.

      grant9 - 2011-09-24 14:54

      NZ winning in 1987 does not count as SA were barred from the tournament.

      AMS-Dammer - 2011-09-24 19:37

      I totally agree with you Grant9... 1987 and 1991 should not be acknowledged as a WORLD CUP STATUS!!!

      Thomas - 2011-09-25 00:55

      rockster666!!! Pathetic comeback!!! Anyone could see the french had no intension of putting everything in this match!! They tested the waters for 10 minutes then proceded to sow the seeds of over confidence in the ABs in the chance they meet in the final!!!!

      RibaldGadfly - 2011-09-25 03:26

      @rockster, that's a bit of a pathetic attempt. It's 16 years after the fact and no Suzie has come out of the woodwork with her million dollar expose of how she cheated the All Blacks. Try and keep a secret like that quiet for so long with so much at stake. I have little doubt that the All Blacks were sick with something on the match day. Sick of bad food, sick with nerves, perhaps a combination of both, who knows? But we all know that they put in a big effort that day - this wasn't a side that was swamped by the Springboks, they damn near won the thing. (Thanks also to the reversal of a legitimate try). Try and keep a conspiracy like this secret anywhere, let alone in a society like South Africa. You'll fail dismally - especially if you look at the idiots who would have been behind the thing. However it seems to have persuaded a generation of New Zealanders that they were robbed, poor deluded sheep.

      Ghanzi - 2011-09-25 05:37

      Andrew I agree , ABs do not have BMT , but we must forgive as they are allowed to dream , and what would happen if we beat them in there own backyard , go on to win th WC, and then its another 4 years without WEBB ELLIS.

      rockster666 - 2011-09-25 05:47

      @RibaldGadfly Susie has taken the truth to her grave therefore the truth will never be exposed.

      whereu - 2011-09-25 06:35

      rockster666, it sounds like you are the master of stupid excuses. Too many Kiwis can't accept that in sport the reason that the opposition beats you is simply because their play is superior to yours on the day. You will find other excuses for losing such the ref, cheating, food poisoning, the ball, the grass, the weather, the crowd, disrespect for the haka... and so on and so on. Get a life. In sport you win some, you lose some.

      rockster666 - 2011-09-25 06:56

      Wow the truth must be painful hahahahaha

      Blip - 2011-09-25 08:08

      So, grant9, do all the Olympics between 1964 and 1994 "not count" either? Sorry, Sergei Bubka, Carl Lewis, FloJo, Mark Spitz, Kip Keino et al --- you "don't count". SA wasn't there. Pffft!

  • Carl Muller - 2011-09-24 14:34

    The All Blacks are the best with us. The final is between them and us. If we peak in three weeks the cup might be ours.....

  • Tabile Kakaza - 2011-09-24 15:10

    Bok depth compared to the All Blacks, that is wishful thinking! So far the Springboks only had a good run against the second tier teams.

      Razz-ma-Tazz - 2011-09-24 15:19

      Thats is a worring concern for the PROTEAS. They do not have the depth compared to the AB's and secondly their Oldies cannot play 80 min rugby.

      Jamal - 2011-09-24 15:50

      @Razz-ma-Tazz, surely you are not a proper Kiwi, if you are posting at 3pm here. Or are you thosed cliched no front teeth from the Flats anti-Bok w@nkers

      Phillip Carlisle - 2011-09-24 16:05

      Phillip Carlisle - 2011-09-24 16:07

      Ja, ja, ja....

      Jason Seegers - 2011-09-24 16:32

      @Razz-ma-tazz.... This isn't cricket mate. Get with the article you're reading. It's about RUGBY so that means Springboks!

      Conrad Pieterse - 2011-09-24 18:52

      Moer hulle Bokke! Watch this video:

      722 - 2011-09-24 19:40

      Are you watching the same RWC as the rest of SA. Do you realy think that the Bokke had second rate teams?

      Orca - 2011-09-24 20:57

      I see that good old white supremism is still alive and thriving in this country of ours. Nothing has really changed, has it. No wonder people like Malema are so popular.

      AA - 2011-09-24 21:17

      The Boks have shown quiet confidence, very similar to the last World Cup . The group stages do not show that much, it is the next stages that start to seperate the teams and it is those that have the ability to step up to the plate that will walk away with the Trophy. The experience in the Bok team has helped to keep a calm head and it will count for them in the next stages. McCaw is a good player no doubt, but i have my doubts about him as a leader that can motivate his team to the next level. Wereas Matfield, Smit and Botha command alot of respect in the team, even just in their presence and that will count for alot. Go Bokke

  • TorqueRugby - 2011-09-24 18:24

    Boks are still in a very precarious position are they not?. If they lose to Samoa and if Samoa pick up a bonus point against Fiji, and Wales pick up full points in their remaining games, Boks are out.

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-26 11:43

      Yes and if the sky falls we all wear little blue hats...

  • TorqueRugby - 2011-09-24 18:27

    Boks are still in a very precarious position - are they not? If the Boks lose to Samoa and Samoa beat Fiji picking up a bonus point in either of these two games; and Wales take maximum points from their two remaining games, which appears likely, the Boks are out.

      AMS-Dammer - 2011-09-24 19:40

      SO TRUE!!!!!!!!! comments from the PRO-BOK BRIGADE! They don't want to face FACTS!!!! I AM a Bok supporter... but this FACT has been with me since the Boks won on DEFAULT against WALES!!!

      AA - 2011-09-24 21:31

      Sure, so that could happen. The Boks are taking Somoa seriously and i am sure this is in their minds. From here on out it will get tougher and tougher and i believe that Boks have the metal for it. From the stages hereafter one game will see the death of at least one team. That is World Cup rugby guys, it is not for the faint at heart. The game against Wales was not their best, granted but for any team it is one game at a time and a win is win - that is what counts. The Boks won, they can put it behind them and move forward. Like life, you cannot dwell on what could have been, teams and people who can move forward are successful and the Boks have that ability. The All Blacks just need to choke in any of the games from the next stages and the cup will walk away again. Everyone is so focused on them but there are a number of teams, including the French, that can win on any given day. The All Blacks and Springboks are not the only teams to look out for. Still, regardless of the outcome one should still support their team; if you are a true supporter . Thats what people are doing, getting behind the team.I am right behind the team.

      Shakes - 2011-09-26 11:47

      @AMS-Dammer, jy's nie n Bok supporter nie. As jy was so jy hulle deur dik en dun steen. Gaan liewers NZ toe ou broer, o, dus reg jy kanni want hulle wil nie vir jou daar he nie!

      Hendrik - 2011-09-26 12:17

      Yes, and if my auntie had bullocks she would be my uncle!

  • Brencis - 2011-09-24 19:36

    We have to commit more players to the breakdown if we stand any chance against the All Blacks. This idea of using only 2 players to secure possession will not work.

  • Mac27 - 2011-09-24 20:39

    As long as we can stop their expanding game and challenge every ball we are in with a very good change. AB's are unstopable ones they start running with the ball. It will be a hell of semifinal.

      Pooh-Bear - 2011-09-24 23:32

      It's still two big games needed before we're talking semis!

  • TFIL - 2011-09-24 20:55

    Bakkies!!! get better boet

  • Clark Kent - 2011-09-24 21:21

    What are you smoking to much Dakkie man the All Blacks have the best Bench in the World, You Also forgot this still isnt their best team. As Kieran Reid isnt playing yet,and he is the best number 8 in the world makes Spies look like a handbag thrower. Sometimes I think you just write utter garbage because the government tell you to. You fool know one with that lack of insight

  • Clark Kent - 2011-09-24 21:27

    Can some one also tell your players to stop stealing when they come to another country its very rude ,and it wasnt a prank they were caught redhanded walking down the street to the bus with it. They are so thick they arent even good thieves

      oclee62 - 2011-09-25 04:43

      Clark Kent -- were you one of the Kiwi supporters that spat on the OZ supporters at some of the games???? Clark Kent --- do you still live in NZ or have you left for OZ (as thousands of over Kiwis have) because NZ do not have the money to pay proper DOLE for the bludgers as you seem to behave like a bludger --- to lazy to find a NZ website so you write rubbish on a SA website!!!!! Sooo Clark Kent -- here is a challenge: See if you can behave properly in public and also stop living on handouts from the OZ government/people!!!!!!

  • BCC - 2011-09-24 21:57

    What a joke of an article. The ABs have the most depth in world rugby by a very long way. SA have a weak starting XV, a few injuries and they are total crap.

      joma - 2011-09-24 23:41

      BCC my man the proof will be in the puding hope you'r still around when the Boks win.

      richard.wraith - 2011-09-25 01:21

      And your depth at flyhalf? No Carter = No cup my man!

      Blip - 2011-09-25 08:16

      Why won't Carter be there? He's tough as teak. Not injury-prone like so-called "hard man" Bakkies!

  • TK - 2011-09-24 23:41

    If the Boks and the AB's play each other, the AB's will start with Hore and bring Mealamu on to counter Bismark. Kieran Reed will start and they will bring Thompson on to counter Alberts. Sam Whitelock will probably be on the bench against SA and is at least as good as Danie Roussouw and at half-back they don't stand back to us either. Re other backline players on the bench, they can pick any combination they want and they will be better than us. Their advantage is that their squad of 30 is almost equally strong whereas we are very dependant on Bismark and Brussouw playing perfect matches. We don't have depth and many of our key players are injury-prone, besides not being able to last 60 minutes. But if we continue to ride our luck and the other teams stuff up, we can win. My prediction: England vs AB's in the final.

      Clark Kent - 2011-09-25 00:18

      Now TK you are about the first bok supporter i have seen on here to way things up accurately

      nzbro - 2011-09-25 08:00

      100% correct TK. The boks successful progress to this final depended largely on the AB or Oz failures. Thats how they got thru in 2007. AB/Oz failed so boks waltzed thru. This rwc is now a level playing field where the boks will have to pass thru the Ozzy minefield and if lucky, again face & pass the AB black wall which is highly unlikely given the recent results between these 3 teams. Boks are now a worried team for good reason. Deans will not allow his guys to fail & neither will Henry. Boks lack the depth they claim or want to believe in & they know it.Its only a matter of time now before the boks pack up & go home empty handed.Its inevitable.

      Jaco Bellingan - 2011-09-26 18:57

      I think the only concern for the All Blacks is backup for Dan Carter. Colin Slade is not good enough for the All Blacks. Carter is by far the best no 10 in world rugby, but he has no good backup.

  • Zane Daniels - 2011-09-25 07:55

    Play down the all blacks by the time you wake up they will be holding web cup

  • cecilead60 - 2011-09-25 11:48

    Going to outplay NZ in there on back Yard, Victory wil taste soooooooo good

  • amabok - 2011-09-25 12:06

    nzbro why you trolling SA rugby site? Lonely at the arse-end of the world? Sheep not keeping u happy?

  • Charlemagne - 2011-09-25 13:34


  • amabok - 2011-09-25 17:13

    Anyone that believes that anyone other the All Blacks is going to win the World Cup is deluded. No. 1 ranked team in the world, home soil, earthquake disaster to galvanise the team/nation, 24 barren years. Enough said. If the boks beat Australia and that a BIG if the All Black will crush us and no depth of the bench will substitute for the sheer pace, power and class of the All Black machine

  • macrini - 2011-09-26 01:26

    Of course the bench is going to have an impact, half of them should be in the starting side. Most teams play their strongest side first, P. Divvy starts with his worst.

  • THEMBELANI63 - 2011-09-26 12:18

    are you on drugs sir?? what r u saying??? puting ur money onto Boks over All blacks...stop smoking'll die young

  • Chief Kok - 2011-09-26 12:25

    Ag Plzzzzz!!!!! Wishgul thinking!!! Boks could only managed to beat NZ 3 times in 10 years in NZ.

      Spindoc - 2011-09-26 13:14

      @ BIG kok....the best thing about this world cup is that if the chocking blacks do manage to win...they will still have a worse WC record than the go back your changing room and practise your childish stomping and tongue pulling!!

      Chief Kok - 2011-09-26 13:43

      Who really cares??!!

  • wozlocksley - 2011-09-26 15:09

    @torquerugby - those are a lot of "ifs" my mate. if my aunty had balls, she would be my uncle. let me put your mind at ease for you - samoa will get handled, the boks will get full house of points and play aussie in the quarters. once we take care of aussie, we play the abs. the winner of that game will win the cup.

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