Stefan Terblanche (Gallo Images)
I was fortunate in my rugby playing career to
travel all over the world and to visit some incredible places.
Throw in the
opportunity to play on all the world famous rugby pitches and one can understand
why rugby gave me so much and why I will be forever indebted to the sport.
After playing rugby for so many years I could be forgiven for losing some
interest in attending live matches and trying to take a break from it all
Saturday after Saturday.
Attending Saturday’s game in Newcastle rekindled that
excitement of a live rugby game and I can now fully understand why spectators
travel thousands of miles to attend these spectacles of sport.
St James' Park was a very special place to be on
Saturday and I enjoyed every single moment of the whole experience
Off course the result helped
to make it an even more memorable outing but from singing our national anthem
to joining The Scots during Flower of Scotland it was a near perfect rugby day
The Bok performance was good and we fully
deserved to win by 18 points. The concern by some but mostly from the Bok
management team of not having enough experienced players in the starting team,
with the loss of De Villiers and Matfield was quickly swept under the carpet
and some younger players performed like hardened career professionals.
I have to mention the performance of the lock
pairing of Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth.
As a former backline player I will
never confess to know anything about forward play but goodness gracious me,
those 2 youngsters we quite simply immense in all areas of the game.
The way De
Jager carried the ball and 3 Scottish defenders along with him across the gain
line was something else. The way Etzebeth defended and carried Scottish
attackers back across their gainline could be felt in the stands every time he
made a tackle.
I can quite honestly say that I have not seen a lock pairing
performed so well together in a Bok game for a very long time, if ever.
In the backline the captain on the day, Fourie du
Preez took full control of the backs and brought this forwards pack well into
De Allende was his usual impressive self and well complimented by his
partner in the midfield, Jesse Kriel. JP is finding his form on the wing again
at the right time and together with Bryan Habana and Willie le Roux they are
now starting to perform well together as a back triangle to form our last line
of defence and attack.
I said before the tournament that we have the
players to win the Rugby World Cup 2015 but that we are not selecting the best
players and therefore the best possible team. I strongly believe that Heyneke
Meyer has now found his best team and that he continues to select this team or
something very similar, we could go all the way to the final on October 31 at Twickenham.
I also said before the tournament that I am very
concerned about the style of the Australian team and that the Wallabies are a
dark horse at this year’s tournament.
They have now shown why and the way in
which they disposed of England on Saturday at Twickenham, knocking the hosts out
of the tournament, certainly made the rugby public take notice and signaled
their status as serious contenders.
I can’t wait for this weekend’s showdown
between Wales and Australia. Both teams have already qualified for the quarters,
but bear in mind that the winner of this game will avoid South Africa in the
quarters and will more than likely play Scotland. That’s massive motivation for
both teams and will be in the back of their minds for the whole 80 minutes.
So yes, it was worth the 7 flights and the 30 odd
hours spent of the plane, eating cold airline food and sharing my seat with the
big guy next to me. It was worth the odd lack of sleep and the expensive beer
after the game. It was all worth it at the end!
Let you passion drive this team.