Five-match hurdle awaits Boks

2009-11-03 08:03

Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg - Another five big challenges lie in wait before the 2009 season is something of the past.

This realisation has dawned on Springbok captain John Smit on the eve of his team’s European tour when the tour kicks off with a game against the Leicester Tigers on Friday.

From a fan’s point of view, South Africans can probably not ask for more than a season that has yielded a Super 14 trophy, a series win over the British and Irish Lions and a Tri-Nations title.

However, for Smit the season is not yet over.

“Yes, we’ve had a good season, but three Tests remain. It’s a big challenge that lies ahead and we start against a tough French team.

There are also games against club sides (Leicester and Saracens) that have players from all over the world. That amounts to five big challenges,” said Smit.

There are a number of stumbling blocks, including South Africa’s patchy record against France and Ireland in recent years. However, it also serves as motivation for a team keen on rising to the occasion.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said he did not want to make excuses, but he knows his team will be tested to the limit.

“We allowed the players to play in the Currie Cup and we could see how it contributed to the quality of the play. But we now play against France and Ireland, and they are going to take the game to us,” he said.

“It’s not difficult to maintain the standards that we set, but the players are psychologically tired. We’ll have to think about how to overcome that.”

South Africa are the top-ranked side and De Villiers wants to keep them there. It’s not easy to do that in Northern Hemisphere conditions.

Toulouse, where the Boks play France, is not a regular destination for South Africa and they will also play in Udine for the first time against Italy.

And after years of competition at Lansdowne Road against Ireland, Croke Park awaits. It’s a huge stadium that will be filled with passionate Irish fans.


  • rachel stevens - 2009-11-03 09:42

    Go Bokke thankyou Bulle your team did it in my opinion for my late father Jack Pretorius whom raised me to be a Bull supporter from Pambrink Stadium in Springs days - 40 odd years ago thankyou again your team just goes on and on to greater victory every time still think Nass ought to coach Bulle and Bokke

  • MikeG - 2009-11-03 09:42

    If there is one person i feel will come out right in this tour it is Earl Rose. The majority of RSA rugby fans don't believe he's got what it takes to perform up there with the best.I wish him well and hope he delivers and prove most of us wrong.Good luck to Chilli as well.May RSA win.

  • rachel stevens - 2009-11-03 09:54

    Joost shame on you we were raised in a God Fearing Country with strict dicipine and morals - you are a role model for our youth!! get a grip.!!! don't stoop to malema's chaos - without rules chaos rules the devil!!!

  • Late - 2009-11-03 09:55

    Bit late to dawn on him now, should've realised 4 weeks ago that the mainstay of the Bok team is being over worked by playing CC. If they had given some thought then, our Bokke could've been well rested and definately ended the season undefeated on this tour!! Now we have the concern of exhausted players but at least the CC sponsors got what they wanted!

  • Joe - 2009-11-03 10:20

    Pieter, the game against Ireland is not played at Croke Park but at the new AVIVA stadium.

  • Mike - 2009-11-03 12:05

    Joe, it is being played at Croke park, Aviva stadium is still being built, I hope the Boks are up to it as I live and work in Ireland, they are very passionate. Earl Rose the joke of SA !!

  • StuartW - 2009-11-03 12:19

    @Rachel, sorry girl, but please tel me how do you link Joost to this piece? @ Mike, I hope you are right. But I have to disagree with you, I don't believe he has it in him at the moment.

  • Boom Boom - 2009-11-03 13:07

    @rachel stevens-What has this article got to do with Malema,Joost and Bulls? Stupid old f***.

  • Ryjin - 2009-11-03 14:06

    fans.... please lets go easy on this side, if they are tired mentally and mess up in the northern hemisphere then so what, what more could we ask of this team? how long have we been waiting for a bok side to do us this proud?? lets all just look this as a bonus round if we win we win if not all is good. Thank you bokke very proud to be a follower

  • Viv - 2009-11-03 14:43

    Our boys have done us so proud over the last few years that if they do not win all of the five games I think we as the Bok supporters can cut them a bit of slack. Just a pity that the like of Rose have been included in the team when there are at least 6 or 7 other far superior and talented players out there who were overlooked. Pity Div has such heart flutters for this Rose kid. Go well Boks and do us proud. We will all still be shouting your praises at the airport when you return, winners of 5 games or not!

  • Tommygun - 2009-11-04 03:38

    Ian McGeechan said SA haven't got the depth they think they have. Well by looking at the team for Friday he may just be right.But I say if the powers that be had been honest and selected a true merit based team he may just be wrong. Don't get me wrong as much as I thought blood was going to shoot out my eyes when I read the team, I will still support them.

  • twisted - 2009-11-04 09:26

    I flew to Edinburgh to watch the Boks (think 2003) lose to Scotland for the first time in 30 years. I can now take whatever pain I have to. I'm looking forward to the rugby - whatever happens.

  • RIP Rose - 2009-11-04 14:32

    What great news that Earl Rose is playing! Maybe now the ifs and maybe's can be laid to rest and we can SEE that he can't cut the mustard, in stead of hearing the whole time that he just needs experience and opportunities. Go ahead and let him make a hash of the midweek games so we can be rid of him.

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