Boks can make history again

2009-08-24 21:51
Who will it be (Gallo)
Adnaan Mohamed - Sport24's man on tour with the Boks

Perth - With three wins under their belt over their antipodean rivals, the Springboks have an ideal opportunity to make history by making it a clean sweep of victories if they win their remaining three Tests on the away leg of their Tri-Nations tour.

South Africa's first hurdle is to overcome Australia at the Subiaco Oval on Saturday before they tackle the Wallabies again in Brisbane a week later.

They then head off to Hamilton in New Zealand where they have to face a resurgent All Black team buoyed by the return of the mercurial Daniel Carter at flyhalf.

In 2008, Ricky Januarie's try in the 74th minute, converted by Francois Steyn, gave the world champions a historic first-ever victory in Dunedin. It was also their first win in New Zealand since 1998.

Last weekend's nail biting All Black 19-18 victory over the Wallabies in Sydney has complicated matters a bit for Bok coach Peter de Villiers's aspiration of only needing one victory on tour.

Had Carter not kicked that 78th minute penalty goal in Sydney on Saturday, a victory in Perth on Saturday would have been enough for the Boks to secure the Tri-Nations title.

The South Africans now have to at least win two of their remaining three matches to bring home the Tri-Nations trophy.

The Boks top the log with 12 league points, while the All Blacks are back in the picture on eight points. The Wallabies have only two points, but they still have a slim mathematical chance of taking the title.

They will however have to win all three their remaining fixtures and pick up five points in two of those matches to still be in with a shout. This however seems highly unlikely.

If the Boks stick to their successful recipe that worked for them so well in the home leg of the series, they should be able to take the title.

The big difference between the Boks and their two Australasian rivals is that the Boks are playing to their strengths. 

As long as the engine-room is firing on all cylinders and Fourie du Preez, Morné and Frans Steyn execute their kicking game to perfection, the Wallabies and the All Blacks will always be under pressure. It might be ugly rugby, but at the moment it's working and is extremely effective.

The All Blacks and the Wallabies are struggling to get their respective kicking games right. But is won't be long before Carter and Matt Giteau get the balance right.

The battle for the loose ball however has been one of the key areas in the Tri-Nations thus far. This aspect of the game has become crucial and the team who gets the ascendancy at the breakdowns, will most likely be the most successful.

Heinrich Brüssow's contribution to the Boks winning a clean sweep on home soil was immense. The little terrier outplayed Richie McCaw and George Smith in this crucial aspect of the game.

It would therefore be foolish of De Villiers to now discard Brüssow in favour of the more robust and physical Schalk Burger who has served out his eight week suspension.

However, it seems as if the injury to Juan Smith will solve a selection headache for De Villiers. Smith is a hard working flanker, who is also an excellent lineout option. I can however be argued the Cheetahs captain doesn't always look at offloading in the tackle. Burger perhaps also has the edge on him with regards to physical and work rate.

Brüssow is in the mold of the classic fetcher whereas Burger is more of a ball carrying flank. A loose trio combination of Pierre Spies, Burger and Brüssow might just bring more potency to the breakdown.

They could be even more effective in the suffocation strategy that the Boks use to strangle their opponents at the moment.

This is definitely a platform that they could use to make a serious attempt at becoming the first team in history to make a clean sweep Down Under.


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