Bok's fate decided in a minute

2010-07-25 22:31
The turning point? (Gallo Images)
JJ Harmse

Brisbane – The nature of South Africa’s Tri-Nations tour was determined inside a minute of the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland.

A clear obstruction on a Springbok went unpunished and the reaction by Bakkies Botha, when he headbutted Jimmy Cowan, ensured that the team would be “punished” for the rest of the 240 minutes on tour.

They would ultimately get four yellow cards – and with Jaque Fourie suspended for four weeks for a spear tackle on Sunday, there were three Bok suspensions in three weeks. It’s a shocking record for any team, particularly for a Bok side that ran on in Wellington with 700 Tests under the belt.

It can be asked how different things might have been had Stuart Dickinson and Alan Lewis punished Cowan’s illegal play, but the reality is that the Boks are again viewed as the bullies of world rugby.

The fact that they looked almost helpless against the All Blacks and Wallabies’ counter-attacks was the bitter pill that needed to be swallowed, with far too many tackles missed.

It is often said that tackling is about attitude – and in the case of the Boks that is a slap in the face.

“We were poor in that department,” captain John Smit admitted to Sport24.

“We were actually poor in a few areas of the game, but on defence we were really disappointing.”

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers will have to contemplate in the next week or two whether it requires a psychologist to bring about the change of attitude or simply a defence coach worth his salt.

He will also have the luxury of being able to call on players such as Juan Smith, JP Pietersen and Jongi Nokwe, but he and his management will also have to talk seriously about the Boks’ approach in the rest of the tournament.

Some senior players are not up to standard and they will have to be sharpened.

There is still an outside mathematical chance for the Boks to keep their title, but then the team will have to play a lot better at Soccer City, Loftus Versfeld and Vodacom Park.

The fact that the team came off second best on three consecutive matches with Irish match officials cannot just be blamed on the referees. The All Blacks and Wallabies had decent coaching and planned thoroughly.

Although there seems to be little doubt that the ref’s sympathy currently lies with the Boks’ opponents, discipline starts with individuals.

The tour can be summed up as follows:

Turning point:
Bakkies Botha’s headbutt.
Setbacks: Injuries to Jannie du Plessis and Andries Bekker.
Low point: Every yellow card, Irish referees.
Highlight: None.
Player of the tournament: Danie Rossouw. Hardworking and fiery.

Read more on:    tn3  |  boks


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Peter de Villiers, Pierre Spies, Butch James and Victor Matfield are all bringing out biographies later this year. Which one are you most looking forward to reading?

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.