Boks' huge desert game-hunt

2011-09-22 13:18

Comment: Rob Houwing Sport24 chief writer 

Cape Town - Well, the Springboks have bagged enough “biltong” to last the entire squad several weeks, haven’t they?

Gallery: Boks trounce Namibia

WIN: A R1000 Mr Price Sport voucher

North Harbour isn’t quite the Namib Desert but dust was probably disturbed as far away as Sossusvlei as South Africa trampled their Namibian neighbours in RWC Pool D on Thursday by 12 all-converted tries to nil, amassing a new Bok record score in a World Cup match in the process.

Towards the end of the 87-0 romp the steam-roller simply became unstoppable, as every last drop of remaining energy was squeezed from the ranks of the underdogs and their commitment to the tackle finally went absent in near-entirety.

Perhaps feeling just a little sorry for them, that wholly contrasting bundle of ceaseless zest and enterprise, Francois Hougaard, opted to pretty much bump off referee George Clancy instead, en route to the last Bok touchdown right on the 80-minute mark of the slaughter!

Seven of the Bok visits to the try-line came in the fourth quarter, after I, for one, had just begun to feel reasonably smug about my conservative pre-match suggestion that South Africa would prevail by a margin of around 50 points.

So if you want to be ultra-critical, you could argue that there were reasonably drawn-out passages of play in which the defending champions did not fire at fullest capacity.

But then again, as captain John Smit correctly observed afterwards: “It was a good opportunity to refocus within a game.”

The need to do that emanated from a so-so first half and then similarly sloppy opening few minutes of the second, when some basic errors and daft little bits of over-elaboration or irksome lack of concentration crept in.

Coach Peter de Villiers had also told television at halftime that his charges were not controlling the breakdown as efficiently as they could, and this did change a bit for the better: remember that ace open-sider Heinrich Brussow got a welcome breather for this fixture.

And you also cannot beef too much about a team scoring 56 unanswered points in a half, whatever the obvious gulf in standards.

The match did show that a genuine, collective hunger to see as much action as possible at the tournament runs deep in this Bok squad, with some old troopers going out of their way once more to remind of the remaining fuel in their tanks and a few younger members of the mix similarly dead-keen to tick the right boxes.

In the former category, Danie Rossouw only continues to defy the potential ravages of Father Time; the robust lock was hugely industrious once more against the Namibians.

Say what you like about Smit, too: the skipper very deftly secured the turnover that led to Gio Aplon’s opening try in the seventh minute and then as late as the 77th minute – admittedly operating by then in the controversial role of tighthead – gave the off-load for Rossouw’s penultimate Bok dot-down to signal his own steady improvement as a “full match” factor if need be.

Of course he would have been less happy over his hooker’s role in the Boks botching three lineouts on their own throw within the space of the first 33 minutes, but that department also benefited from the general tidy-up of gremlins as the fixture progressed.

My reservations about another Bok stalwart, Pierre Spies, are largely unchanged – I believe he still goes too quiet during certain pockets of play -- but the No 8 must also earn undiluted credit for some flashes of class: a quick-thinking overhead pass to set up Frans Steyn for a try and later a wicked hand-off before putting perky substitute Juan de Jongh in the clear for one of his pair.

While he was on the park for the first 50 minutes or so, CJ van der Linde, getting a useful run out at No 3, scrummed solidly, even won a rare lineout and basically beavered away with the sort of willingness the Stormers all too seldom witnessed from him in his lethargic Super Rugby presence for them earlier this year.

Willem Alberts stuck up his hand on the day to the extent that he was awarded the official man-of-the-match mantle, but perhaps the player to give the Boks’ brains trust the proverbial “nicest” of headaches going forward was Hougaard.

Simply put, he was slippery at scrumhalf and then just as wriggly and elusive when he switched to left wing after Bryan Habana had finally got his best all-time try-scorer record (39) for South Africa and was eventually withdrawn from the fray.

Hougaard quite clearly would not let South Africa down in either a No 9 or No 11 shirt against top-tier opposition at this World Cup, although I still fancy that Fourie du Preez’s integral role in the Bok tactical kicking game is going to keep him the first choice for biggest clashes.

All in all, it is pleasing the see the champions showing a bit of swagger at a good time …

* Click HERE for the latest RWC odds on BET.CO.ZA


  • Dries Badenhorst - 2011-09-22 13:35

    Nice Article - pretty much my take on the game, too!I I though Lambie would be more prominent in this match.

      droplet - 2011-09-22 13:53

      was lambie playing?

      howard staunton - 2011-09-22 14:46

      Yep. its hard to have a bad game game against Namibia, but Lambie managed it. Not really sure what all the fuss is about him. Have watched him many times and he is average at best. Likes to get over the advantage line, which makes him appear good, but actually he isnt. Nobody know where to play him, and he doesnt know either, as he is always out of position. Even the Namibians picked up on it and started kicking to where he was supposed to be. I know he is young, but so are many other moderately talented kids out there, and we dont make nthem go play test rugby?

      Kleinboet - 2011-09-22 16:20

      Gio Aplon is better at fullback than Pat Lambie - will give more punch to the backline.

      Grant - 2011-09-22 17:57

      What makes Lambie so much better than most is his decision-making. He generally chooses the right time to run the ball, the right time to pass, the right person to pass TO, the right time to kick. Those of you who obviously only understand the "running in space" aspect of the game will obviously be unable to appreciate this...

      Rob - 2011-09-22 20:33

      howard are an ass hole....For a twenty year old kid fighting for a place in a world cup side and ......he makes it..... That must put a color onto your jaundiced eye.... you obviously support france.....bunch of cocks any way

      Magmansa - 2011-09-23 06:48

      I think Lambies the man for the job, he's good under the high ball, solid on defence and he's got BMT. As for the running in space thing, I'm not sure if he lacks the ability or if the boks lack the ability to put him in space? Hopefully they work on that. As for Aplon, I rate the guy, but I think wing is best for him. He may be a bit vulnerable at the back during the big matches.

      Frans Smith - 2011-09-23 10:00

      Lambie was solid on the high ball and solid in defence, In attack he delivered the goods. Gio (although i am a fan) may struggle on defence against the bigger teams and bigger players.

  • Anneleen - 2011-09-22 13:35

    Well done Bokke! The vibe here in the city is great, with supporters smiling broadly, donning their Springbok gear. ...a few numbers to ponder about...All Blacks vs Japan 83-7=76. SA vs Namibia 87-0=87 ...87-76=11...dare i say the Boks is a force to be reckoned with...go Bokke!!!

      SA-FAN - 2011-09-22 13:43

      It is a difficult comparison to make because of the ranking between Japan and Namibie. But i think its gonna be a hard semi final if we get there against the all blacks.

      Anneleen - 2011-09-22 13:53

      @SA-FAN...thank you for your comment...please excuse me if the comparison seems a bit out of sorts...still suffering from after-match excitement jitters...!

      Drewka - 2011-09-22 13:56

      Anneleen... Don't be unfair!!! We all know that the Namibian team is far better than the guys from Japan. So that 11 points flatters the All Blacks... Ha Ha

      SA-FAN - 2011-09-22 13:58

      No prob Anneleen :) i am just as excited as you because i know in my heart as a proud south african that these guys have what it takes to bring that cup back where it belongs!

      Anneleen - 2011-09-22 14:10

      @Drewka...ha-ha! Thanks for your comment...just for interest's sake...what is the difference in rankings between Namibia and Japan? @SA-FAN...went to buy a huge Springbok-flag lunctime...yes, our team does have what it takes...!

      Drewka - 2011-09-22 14:20

      @Anneleen... Japan is rated 13th, and Namibia 19th.... BUT, we (The Springboks) are rated 3rd and everybody knows we are the best team in the world....Ha Ha

      SA-FAN - 2011-09-22 14:22

      Namibie is 19 and Japan 13 anneleen

      SA-FAN - 2011-09-22 14:29

      Drewka we moved up to 2nd with Australia's loss to Ireland

      Anneleen - 2011-09-22 14:30

      @Drewka...thanks for the info! Feels good to be a Bok! @SA-Fan...dankie vir die inligting...baie interessant!

      Drewka - 2011-09-22 14:44

      Sorry for that mistake SA-FAN

      oVaDoSe - 2011-09-22 14:45

      Namibia are currently ranked 19th Japan are currently ranked 13th :-)

      Anneleen - 2011-09-22 14:53

      ...and for everybody helping me out with the are ranked at number 1...thanks!

      SA-FAN - 2011-09-22 15:03

      Everybody on Aneleen's reply is ranked 1st so far no negative comments ;) Drewka no worries I only found it out the other day as well! Should we beat all blacks in the semis we could go back to 1 again.

      Anneleen - 2011-09-22 15:18

      @SA-FAN...nog een vraag...wanneer kan mens die heruitsending van vandag se wedstryd sien?

  • Muzi Msimango - 2011-09-22 13:36

    Mr Rob Houwing Pierre Spies has to play a tighter game he can not relax in the backline and wait for the ball he was the one who got the ball from the rucks to burger on a few occassions which led to habana's try BUT we all know everyone wants willem alberts at number 8. I

      InternetMan - 2011-09-22 14:27

      Spies is a wing not an 8th man. He would manshame a few wings should we play him there

  • LloydSix - 2011-09-22 13:38

    Hougaard for the win. Keep Du Preez at scrum half and Hougaard at wing, Habana is finished.

      SA-FAN - 2011-09-22 14:00

      Very much agreed hougaard much better utilized at wing.

      Drewka - 2011-09-22 14:06

      I have to disagree with you Lloyd, rather put Fourie du Preez on the bench. I know it's sad, but of all the senior guys he's the only one that hasn’t stepped up yet. He will remain one of the best rugby players to ever wear a Green & Gold Jersey nonetheless. I also think that Frans Steyn lifted Juan de Villiers out of the no. 12 jersey.

      Dmitri - 2011-09-22 14:10

      Habana got the record, now it is time for the new generation of players. Well done to habana for the record. Happy birthday Bakkies.

  • Zion - 2011-09-22 14:10

    And the media said there will not be a cricket score. Well so much for the ill-informed media. The outcome of this game like many of its counterparts fascinates the hell out of me. Namibia is a Wednesday practice team and very far from a professional team. We knock the living kaka out of them then boast with the score. Yes sirs, time to roll out the high schools and run in 200 points and give them the same. What do we, ie, you feel for the namibians and their loss: Yes a moerse pride because the bokke done it again. One must remember that the Namibian team and their reserves is about the total amount of persons playing rugby in Namibia and all are amateur players. This is more like forcing a lightweight boxer into the ring to fight a heavy weight full knowing he will be blixemed out of his mind. But that is how sports is. Irrational. Pappie, pappie het julle weer verloor Ja my kind nou hou jou bek Maar pappie wanneer het julle gewen Hou jou bek en gee die bottel aan Maar pappie wanner gaan julle wen OOR MY DOOIE LIGAAM MY KIND.

      howard staunton - 2011-09-22 14:54

      moet ons volgende keer teen Namibie verloor? Of wil jy net so bietjie kla soos n suur ou boks. Pappie, pappie - hoekom maak jy jou broek nat oor alles. Pappie pappie, kan jy nie net shaddup as jy niks het om te se nie?

      Zion - 2011-09-22 15:05

      howard staunton volgende keer moet namibia nie daar wees nie, hansword dit is wat bedoel is in die comment. Twit.

      Les Gombart - 2011-09-22 18:57

      with your logic... Why then dont we just play tri & six nations teams in the rwc? BIG twit

  • theprodigy - 2011-09-22 14:32

    Good performance, not perfect...yet. missed tackles, 3 own line outs lost & one too many penalties are a bit of a concern, also we left at least 14 points on the field by the occasional non-finish. Other than that it was good that they got a run & gave most of the boys time on the field. To win our quarter, semi & final games, we will need to be still better yet, but lets not peak too the All Blacks. The AB's couldn't have hoped for a better chance @ the WC, easy pool, Boks in the most physical pool, Aus 2nd in their pool which guarantees NZ getting rid of one of their main contenders early in the competition. If the AB's don't win this one, they never will, I think that the Boks are the only ones capable of toppling the mighty (overconfident) AB's, but 1st Tonga & Aus.

  • frans.mosia - 2011-09-22 15:19

    Another strong message from the Springboks, to remind other competitors in this tournament why the Springboks are the world champions. Pride of South Africa, Mzantsi.

  • Whoosa - 2011-09-22 16:15

    Love the way that we are building momentum and gaining confidance towards the play off stages. Especially as the other favourites nz and aus's form has been declining since earlier this year. We've got work to do, but i reckon we are in for a good shot at the cup. If our forwards can dominate upfront and morne can kick the goals, we will be there in the end! GO bokke!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kleinboet - 2011-09-22 16:40

    Not a perfect performance but, then, nobody is perfect except me. (Oh, Lord, it is hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way!) On a more serious note, those nicklikng little mistakes did disappear as the game continued but we will have to learn to start the way we finished today. Against stronger opposition we cannot afford to miss so many line out throw-ins and handling errors at the start. We might find that we have to play catch up rugby if we do not improve. Overall a good game which showed that we have depth in every department. Now it is up to the selectors to do the rgiht thing. Boys, you now have had ample opportunity to convince yourselves who the best players are; so be brave and pick them for the start up team! - 2011-09-22 18:10

      Yep. You're perfect in every way. Except when it comes to spelling. And grammar. And punctuation.

  • Midfield Maestro - 2011-09-22 17:10

    Good game was expected few mistakes but you are bound to have them when your on a 87-0 romp!! Positives where that we never conceded a try or a single point and we slotted all our penalties most of them by Stein which shows that our defense (cover defense that is) is good and we are able to keep the scoreboard ticking. All those factors win worlds!! Now for poor Allblacks to get spanked by France.

  • Whoosa - 2011-09-22 17:13

    I reckon we should try Aplon at 15 for the next game. Lambie hasnt been convincing. And considering the way Frans steyn plays at 12 currently, there will be no place for JDV if he recovers in time. Frans just offers so much more @12 and is a must. He creates so much more than JDV, so much more sharper etc etc. Just have a close look at his passing in the next game. His quick, decisive, accurate bullet passing creates so much space and oppertunity out wide. Back to Aplon. Ive got nothing against lambie, but considering we are gonne play Frans at 12, we need propper backup at 15. I just think that Aplon got more to offer than lambie. Especialy now that we are running the ball alot more. And for god sake pdivvy, please no Runa pienaar at 15!!!!

  • tony.delucchi - 2011-09-22 17:17 the way a good indicator would be to compare how many tries have been scored so far.... NZ = 19, SA = 19, FRA = 10, ITA = 8, ENG = 7, and of the 19 tries SA & NZ have SA have converted 19, NZ have converted 13.....looks to the scoreboard because this is were the game is won.....

  • rosemarie - 2011-09-22 18:55

    It is getting better except for that self serving prick captain Smit One is so surprised if he does something it is actually news! He is not there on merit but only because he sucks up to another joke de Villiers. His ego problems will still cost us dearly.

      TheDodgyRog - 2011-09-23 01:50

      OMG you a effin half wit. go and get your ass back on the corner and make your pimp some money you brainless git. I bet you are an English supporter.

      Whoosa - 2011-09-23 06:18

      Listen Rose. In short, just a plain simple F you! John is the biggest gentlemen the game has ever seen. We all now by know that he is not the best hooker in the sqaud, but he is gonna play doesnt matter what. But accusing him in the way u did, is so uncalled for. Back to the streets you low class whore!

      Humpme Dumpm - 2011-09-23 19:16 don't earn 100 test caps by being a poor matter who when and where you are.....also don't confuse ego with confidence......John Smit has won a World he, more than most has every right to be a confident individual. Lastly, 90% of international sport is won and lost in the have to be confident or otherwise your opponents will see it and be all over you in a second. You have a right to your opinion, I have a right to tell you you are aso way off the mark its laughable. John Smit has gained international respect, even from the All Blacks and the Aussies. He also doesn't pick himself.....if you're angry he's playing, direct your anger to the selectors, there's four of them. He makes himself available with the skills set he has and what he can bring to the team....and those four individuals believe he's worth selecting. And I would assume they have better rugby minds than you do..................

  • willem - 2011-09-22 20:05

    Hey guys . A total amateur team did well against the Bokke. Why dont they highlight some of the Namibians strong points. Proud to be a Namibian!!

      Sabellid - 2011-09-23 10:04

      100%. So what if the Boks whipped Namibia's ass. It was expected. Namibia played rugby on the biggest stage in the world. I am proud of my team even if they lose badly. Can the same be said by a Bok supporter if the Boks lose? I dont think so. Be proud of your team no matter what the outcome and show some respect to other teams playing.

  • Mickey Fin - 2011-09-22 22:54

    Interesting reading the comments of most the Springbok supporters here. After every game as well as before the tournament even started, the general comments are very arrogant and have the Springboks as the World Cup winners already. To sum up their performance thus far is to say they were lucky against Wales, very average against Fiji and as expected totally destroyed Namibia. The last game you cannot read much into apart from the fact that for 60 minutes the Springboks were fairly average. I was reading some news sites of New Zealand after their win against Japan and the general comments was fairly negative and critical about how they played. Just interesting seeing the different views of the different supporters. We will see how this turns out as we start getting to the business end of the tournament. My view what it is worth is that the All Blacks will take this one due to the fact that they have been the most consistent and it is a home game.

      Andrew - 2011-09-23 01:56

      Nobody cares about your opinion arrogant prick

      Humpme Dumpm - 2011-09-23 09:04

      @MickeyFinn. Your comment too is quite interesting. What you do have to realise is, you don't have to play pretty rugby to win a World Cup, you have to do enough to get through 7 games. We were not lucky against Wales, we did enought to win. Simple! I have no doubt, if we needed more, we would have found that. Also, please don't confuse entheusiasm and patriotism with arrogance. I'm sure you Kiwi's are brow beaten, having believed you should have won all 6 previous world cups. The bottom line is, you were not good enough for the tournament. If you want to call us lucky, personally I believe New Zealand are the luckiest side in the world. They get away with murder at the breakdown's. Why because their local reffs allow a "free-for-all" during NPC. The IRB has realised this and thats why you have NO refs who are of international standard. Its going to bite the All Blacks when it counts.......and please don't blame the reap what you sow.....carnage at the break-down in New Zealand may workd when you play New Zealand teams because you have New Zealand reffs.......but I have a funny feeling it will be your undoing at this World Cup. Everybody else can't be wrong and NZ right........remember, "the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour"

  • Murph - 2011-09-23 08:23

    Hougaard is a stand out for me, this guy is a potential game breaker and is playing up a storm at the tournament. He deserves his spot.

  • Babs Visser - 2011-09-23 10:25

    Please correct me if I am wrong, to score 12 tries and to convert ALL of them is a record. I have not watched any of the other pool games so please advise if any of the other "Good" teams" were able to come up with a score of 87 against their weaker opponents?

  • pages:
  • 1