Title beyond 'geriatric' Boks?

2011-08-22 08:17

Johannesburg - Sporting history is littered with tales of great teams and individuals who did not know when to quit and suffered humiliating exits.

Many South African supporters fear a similar fate awaits the 'green and gold' at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand as they try to become the first country to successfully defend the title.

Up to 12 of the 2007 cup-winning team could start against Wales in Wellington on September 11 with retired Percy Montgomery and Os du Randt and injured Juan Smith the only definite absentees.

While some of the side that conquered England 15-6 in the Paris final remain worthy of starting places, there are large question marks hanging over others like captain and hooker John Smit.

Johannesburg Star writer Jacques van der Westhuyzen puts 2007 skipper Smit fourth behind Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Adriaan Strauss in a South African hookers order of merit.

The Times columnist Archie Henderson was equally blunt: "He (Smit) is not the best hooker in the country, nor, indeed, the second best. He is not even among the top 10 tight-heads."

When coach Peter de Villiers sends Du Plessis on as a replacement, he regularly moves Smit to tighthead prop with sometimes disastrous results for the team.

In a home Tri-Nations Test loss to Australia this month, a Springbok scrum that had held its own suddenly fell apart in the closing stages when Smit switched front-row positions.

Wings JP Pietersen and Bryan Habana, flyhalf Butch James, tight-head CJ van der Linde, lock Bakkies Botha and utility forward Danie Rossouw are others who have battled at times.

Smit disagrees with the "geriatrics" label critics have stuck to his squad: "I believe we are a better squad now than in 2007 and we were a very good squad at that tournament."

"I cannot bear to watch the Springboks playing like this any more," moaned 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White after one home loss before his unsuccessful attempt to unseat De Villiers.

The current coach enjoyed a glorious 2009, winning a three-Test series with the British and Irish Lions and bringing the Tri-Nations trophy to South Africa for only the third time.

But the rest of a four-year reign has varied between been average, poor and dismal with pundits pointing to his inability to alter the course of a match in which South Africa are struggling.

He promised a new, bolder approach after replacing White, but the team seems set to take its much-loved kick-chase-harass approach into the World Cup despite repeated recent failures.

Vice-captain Matfield and Botha no longer lord the line-outs, the scrum can be vulnerable and a threequarter line that favours brawn over brain struggles endlessly to find gaps.

Injuries have also taken their toll with flank-cum-No 8 Smith, often the unsung star of a Springbok triumph, ruled out along with two-metre-plus third-choice lock Andries Bekker.

It will also concern De Villiers that likely first-choice flanks Schalk Burger and Heinrich Brussow have been battling injuries with the former missing the entire Tri-Nations.

But the biggest worry for many is uncertainty over who fills the vital flyhalf position with Morne Steyn, the best goal-kicker in the world when on song, suffering untimely poor form.

Alternative James, who helped the Springboks win in Paris, offers more flair but his goal kicking is erratic and he has a habit of making rash challenges that bring yellow cards.

Fourie du Preez only recently returned from an injury-induced 21-month Test absence and the scrumhalf considered the best in the world two seasons ago must prove himself again.

South Africa should win a group including Fiji, Namibia, Samoa and Wales, but if they get past likely quarter-finals opponents Ireland, their nemesis the All Blacks loom large.


  • sean - 2011-08-22 08:31

    John will be going to the WC wheather we like it or not, best solution is what PDV did this past weekend, play Bissie for the first 40 or 50 then bring John on for the remainder at hooker only.

      Tools1 - 2011-08-22 08:44

      Sean i wish everyone would make peace with the fact. The decision has been made, bar injury to Smit this WILL not change. So lets just get behind the boys and hope Divvy does what you say and bring Smit on the last 30 and Lord help us. - 2011-08-22 09:09

      Agreed....let's just get right behind the Bokke and give them 200% support!! The fact is: They ARE capable - we know that! Certainly capable of going all the way in the WC 2011! THEY CAN DO IT!

      GT - 2011-08-22 09:10

      how about playing bismark for the first 79.45min and have JS do the post match interview. It is not even close... even a blind man can see it.

      Green Oaks - 2011-08-22 09:18

      I remember all us saying after we won the last WC. "Geez, these guys will all be young enough to still play in the next WC" Now we sing a different tune. Here are the ages of the team I think will play against Wales. Beast 26 John Smit 33 Jannie 29 Bakkies 32 Matfield 34 Brussow 25 Burger 28 Spies 26 Du Preez 29 Steyn 27 Habana 28 Jean 30 Fourie 28 JP 25 Steyn 24 Average age of 28. What pushes it up is Smit, Matfield and Bakkies. I don't think we are too old. Let’s stop this age crap and get behind our boys and go and win the World Cup !!!

      Green Oaks - 2011-08-22 09:35

      Here is a piece I found on thAll Black website. "The All Blacks squad named for the Wallabies is the oldest New Zealand test team by average age, and also surpasses the Springboks side of 2010 with the most starting caps of any team in history" "The combined age of the starting team also breaks the record, set at 433, surpassing the previous record notched by England in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, which was a collective 423" Oldest All Blacks starting XV, v Australia at Auckland, August 6, 2011 Mils Muliaina (31), Sitiveni Sivivatu (29), Conrad Smith (29), Ma'a Nonu (29), Hosea Gear (27), Dan Carter (29), Piri Weepu (27), Kieran Read (25), Richie McCaw (30), Jerome Kaino (28), Ali Williams (30), Brad Thorn (36), Owen Franks (23), Keven Mealamu (32), Wyatt Crockett (28). Average age: 28. And that almost looks like their A Team to me. So Sport24, do some homework before you write this cr@p!!!

      call a spade - 2011-08-22 10:13

      Greenoaks: Thanks for clarifying the age issue. I feel much better after your factual comment.Now if we were able to quantify ecperience the boks will come out way on top. I however have to agree that JS is not the player he have been and Bismarck should be the no 1 hooker to be fair. I am just a bit worried that the team can turn against Smit or become divided, both of which will be bad for morale in the camp. Hope they can sort the issue out.

      Tools1 - 2011-08-22 10:59

      @ Spade. After the look on Bismark's face as he left the field he made it clear that he wasnt happy to be replaced.. I understand his disapointment but this might be the start of some upheaval in squad. Let sleeping dogs....

      Green Oaks - 2011-08-22 11:42

      Spade, agree re Smit and Bismarck. But I think Peter will stsart with Smit against Wales. Not saying it is right. With regards to becoming devided. I don't think JS will allow that to happen. He is a far better person than that. I think he will put the team first.

  • Adrian - 2011-08-22 08:32

    I think on Saturday , it really showed how much Smit is just a passenger in the team. Bismarck's workrate , aggressive defense and ability to turnover ball really stood out. If Smit goes to world cup it should only be in a manargerial position.

      Raka13 - 2011-08-22 08:37

      I am one of the people who have been defending Smit's inclussion purely on his captaincy, and will still defend his inclussion based on that. Smit should go the WC, but on the bench. He can captain from the bench and help with technical replacments and calls from the bench.

      htiek - 2011-08-22 08:52

      Smit can be to SA what Becham was to England for the football WC - Becs didn't play but he was on the side line (not that it helped Eng)...Smit can do the same, he does not warrant a place on the field!

      Howzitekse - 2011-08-22 08:56

      This performance of the current Bok team under PDV is almost identical to that of the team under Jake White. John Smit was then also veiwed (correctly) as not th best hooker in SA. The team was patchy at the RWC, but Jake got lucky, because the team peaked at the right time, and Argentina was the best team we came up against. If this team peaks, and the All Blacks choke as so many are hoping......who knows?

      Dudley - 2011-08-22 09:00

      Adrian - I think youv'e got it spot on - I'm a sharkie & admire Smit but reality sucks Smit's presence will a phycoligical one only

      Sarge - 2011-08-22 09:09

      John Smit is the most selfish man in South Africa, Cares more about his nice springbok paycheck than what is best for South African rugby. Please just step down already!! We showed this weekend that we don't need him as a player anymore!!

      BlueRaven - 2011-08-22 10:10

      Sarge I agree, I lost all respect for the man, can hardly look at a picture of him without feeling sick.

      Zolani - 2011-08-22 10:19

      I thought Smith scored the most try's from a South African this tri nations

  • Gallopaway - 2011-08-22 08:37

    Seriously!! when we lose the media burns the team and now we have smashed NZ by 13 points and the media still burns the team......just get behind the boys and support them for a change!!!

      jochem - 2011-08-22 08:46

      The Proteas won by 13 (not by 33 like the ABs did in Wellington) and the score hugely flattered them. No try scored, no bloody imagination. If you can really get exited about this win then you are in for some disappointment come WC time!

      BUSINESSMAN - 2011-08-22 08:50

      Ridiculous way to win - not even one try against a weakend All Black team. In fact, not even one proper backline try the whole tri nations - only (very few) predictable bashes over the line. Even if we do win the RWC like that, its a total loss for rugby! We were lucky NZ made mistakes, they could easily have scored quite a few tries - same cannot be said about us. And a better NZ team would punish us for all that stupid, aimless kicking down the mid field. Sorry, love the Boks, but I cannot find much to be proud of out of Saturday's win. But who knows, maybe the backs will pick up the show in NZ?

      andrew - 2011-08-22 08:56

      I'm afraid the Boks did not smash the All Blacks! False sense of security! Somewhere else it was suggested, that John Smit actually proves the real person he is, declares himself not available to play, go along as part of management/coaching if he must go. Does he want to write 2 times WC winning capatin on his CV? Does 'snorre' want to say under my tenure as coach I/we won the WC. I really cannot see the repeat of 2007, as much as would like to!! A pity personal pride and money are placed before national pride!!!

      LionsFan - 2011-08-22 09:00

      We won yes-smash never ,The ABs could have scored at least 3 tries to our 0 ,We are playing borning predictable rugby ,It may have worked for the english in 2003 but i don't think it will work for us now ,Too late to change anything now ,Time to support the Boks and see what happens

      Zolani - 2011-08-22 09:05

      @jochem, Bafana Bafana is our soccer team, The proteas are our cricket team and The springboks are our Rugby team You seem confused

      DeonL - 2011-08-22 09:22

      Rather play ugly and win, than play expansive / "pretty" rugby and loose. We did not score 1 try in last 2 WC Finals, but we won.

      StaalBurgher - 2011-08-22 09:53

      The only defence we really have for out style of play is that we don't have the players to play anything else. Unfortunately we must play to our strengths. However, I would still like to see us kick a little bit less.

      Aj - 2011-08-22 17:04

      @jochem we lost by 33 points when we left 22 springboks at home.. al blacks lost by 13 when they left 9? at home.

  • Facts - 2011-08-22 08:42

    I am actually sick of the Smit saga. I will always remember him as a selfish individual. Money instead of respect for the Bok jersey.

      Scottish - 2011-08-22 08:48

      What the hell r u on about?

      Tools1 - 2011-08-22 08:56

      I am actually sick of all the negativity. I thought if we win and win relatively comfortably the public would give in a bit. It wasnt pretty but a win is a win. Only our second game together and slayed the mighty ABs beit their b side. So many good signs to be upbeat about FOCUS on those and you will all have a better day!!!!!!!

      Spindoc - 2011-08-22 09:34

      @Tools1...what do you mean ..Only second game together...where the hell have you been living for the last 5 years...these guys have played together since must be related to PDivvy and surely smoke the same stuff...they were dreadful on Saturday and to be honest as much as I hope they will not get much's like PDivvy froze Jake Whites team and now is trying to thaw them out for a return to glory!!

      StaalBurgher - 2011-08-22 10:04

      @Tools1 - This is what happens when we have a BEE coach that has farted about for 3/4 of the past years. A little bit of success is not good enough to make up for the embarrassment already suffered.

      gizmoza - 2011-08-22 10:16

      Dude you have no idea what you are talking about! You have this narrow minded perception over an individual that you have no idea what he has done for South African rugby, and the team. So maybe go read some more, do a little research and then come back and change your attitude.

      Shistirrer - 2011-08-22 10:38

      Gizmoza, no disputing of what JS has done for the team in the past. So did Naas Botha and Mannetjies Roux, but we don't see them in the team, do we? Smit said in his book that he will retire when his fans tell him it's time. Well, his fans have been telling him this for the past two years, but he's refusing to go. Selfish? Yes.

      gizmoza - 2011-08-22 10:52

      @Shistirre I do agree, in his book that was stated but do you listen to the fans or do you listen to the players that want the leadership there. I am not saying he deserves to start, def. not. But we cant escape the fact, that he does amazing work with getting the team to gel, getting the team to a level where they believe in themselves. If John had to go there as a player/mentor and do more mentoring than playing, and be there as a 2nd or third string front rower, I think just his presence there will make a huge impact. I personally feel he is far from selfish, and not hanging around for pay cheque's, he is hanging around because he has a responsibility, and the team wants him there. He could walk into a job with any rugby union, that I promise you, so these remarks with regards to money are just utter rubbish.

      Tools1 - 2011-08-22 11:13

      @ spindoc Come on doc.2nd game this season, for some players two years! things are different in S.A as in NZ all teams are contracted to NZRU. They have the same Defence, same game plans, same phisio's they eat the same damb food. In S.A rugby played in Pretoria and Capetown is worlds apart Its going to take us a while to play cohesively. We WON ?????!!!!!

  • Tresc - 2011-08-22 08:47

    Just about every coach and previous springbok in SA has come out in support of John Smit (baring Ollie) saying he has to go to the WC because he brings stability to the squad. He may not be the best hooker in the country but he certainly has to be one of the best leaders. Besides how can people be calling for his head 3 weeks before the WC. Surely its not wise to drop the man at this stage!?

      BlueRaven - 2011-08-22 08:55

      People have been calling for his head the past 2 years. He must go, but alas he won't.

      Sarge - 2011-08-22 09:42

      Brings stability to the squad? The squad hasn't been stable for the past 2 years with Smit at the helm. 2 wins in our last 8 tri-nations games with Smit as captain doesn't really seem that stable to me. Needs to go as a team manager if they only need him to "stabilise" the team during the WC.

  • larry.lakeshore - 2011-08-22 08:51

    Did you perhaps miss the game on Saturday?

  • Andrew - 2011-08-22 08:52

    this news is soooo boring. The boks are taking john and that's been decided. just get behind him now instead of creating division in the nation and the team. over 100 tests caps, a great record against new zealand and a world cup trophy. show some respect and get behind the guy. Comeon!

  • gazzaz - 2011-08-22 08:55

    I agree with Jochems comments, yes we did win and no it was not "pretty" but we looked decididely sterile with no imagination or flair on display, very troubling indeed!!

      Durasmart - 2011-08-22 10:04

      Only the year and the name of the country appear on the WC trophy. There is no comments column. The only important thing is to win it , no matter how lucky or ugly that win is.

  • JV - 2011-08-22 08:57

    I really wish that all the "anti-Smit" brigade would let it go and instead get behind the team. Smit might not be the best hooker we have but he is definitely without a doubt the BEST CAPTAIN the Boks have. I also think the media is our worst enemy as it does not matter whether we win or loose, the media always criticise. It's time everyone realises the fact that there are 14 ithe rplayers to blame when the team does not do well and not only the captain.

      Gore - 2011-08-22 09:42

      If Smit's role as a captain is so insignificant - why does not he just leave and let the other 13 players be blamed?

      BlueRaven - 2011-08-22 09:43

      The fact that the Boks lost with him as captain and WON with Victor as captain tells another story. Gosh not even the Sharks used him, go figure.

  • Zolani - 2011-08-22 09:00

    I dont understand why so Many South Africans in the stand were Supporting the All blacks, loved it when they lost. Springbok supporter till the end and what a great game from Brussouw

  • Marcus Daily - 2011-08-22 09:00

    Hahaha, when the All Black A-team demolished our B-team, they did not even bother throwing a party cause it was not worth it. Our A-team beats an All Black-B team that had 8 guys that just walked out of hospital and we want to award them with medals of honour? Sorry fellow Boks, the game could've been over in the first 15 minutes (we all know it) and we talk about our defence being on par, but jeepers did the All Blacks break our densive lines with ease. SBW may not have dominated but he still managed to off-load in the tackle and with better ball players returning for the world cup this is still a worry should we ever play them again. Sadly PdV has played all his cards and now all top nations know what to expect against swallow does not make a victory does not make us invincible.

      Tresc - 2011-08-22 09:07

      Didn't Brussow just come back from injury? imjustsaying...

      Marx - 2011-08-22 09:20

      Marcus, we are nowhere near peaking, the All Blacks are peaking already, and they were rattled on sat. Pitty we couldn't put that 30 pointer on them, but we needed the win more than any points difference.

      Marcus Daily - 2011-08-22 09:33

      @Tresc, yes he did, not disputing that. Be we needed the backline guys to step up! We can't have so many turnovers and fail to score to a try from a counter attack, pathtic really. Brussow did his work coming back from Injury just like Israel Dagg did:) @Marx, "they" who played on Saturday will be on the bench if we ever play the AB's again this year.

  • Uhuru - 2011-08-22 09:01

    This is a terrible article. Habana was excellent last saturday. You seem to forget what WC rugby is all about. Our team knows how to play WC rugby to P%^ss off please. These old guys are going to make you swallow this shallow attempt at an article. Shame on you. Open your eyes to the many positives. At present we only have one negative and that is our inability to create backline tries. Other than that we are performing as good and better at all other facets of the game that any other team. Go smittie and team there are a lot of SA fans who can see through the sensationalistic journalism. We are 100% behind you. John I KNOW you will bring the cup back for us.

  • Coconut - 2011-08-22 09:03

    Well done to the Bokke on Saturday. They showed a lot more gile and tenacity even though it was not a full strength All Black team. Well done boys, now go to the RWC and do us all very prod. we have faith in you and are behind you all the way. To those people who continuously criticize, please stop now and get behind our team. They need ALL of the South African support that they can get. To those of you who are privileged enough to be going to New Zealand, make yourselves heard fellas and give our Bok team the very best of a South African boost. GO BOKKE !!!!!!!!

  • Jacques Vd Merwe - 2011-08-22 09:04

    Bismarck plays great game supporting forwards where they lack in aggression and defense. I honestly agree about playing Smit on the bench and only used in case someone gets injured and not as an "impact" player. No team has ever won the the RWC on scoring tries and being flashy, 99% of teams who have won the RWC has done so on Penalty kicks and drop goals. NZ and AUS are peaking now and playing some of the best rugby of their careers, but wait until the RWC is hear, its a different ball game. If our scrums can keep up and power on, our forwards defend the way they should support Steyn for kicking, I think we have a very good chance of progressing to the semi finals. Habana, should play flank, honestly they guy is trying to do too much in the lose scrums and mauls instead of trying to create gaps and running the line. His defense is erratic and shocking at best, always breaking the line and creating massive gaps in our defense. Even though we have these worries Im sure every country has the same, we thought the same about White when he coached, we had dismal performances and many defeats, but winning the RWC made him famous and a hero. Im not saying that Divvy (Snorrr!!!) is the best coach with old performing players, I do feel that when we peak in the RWC the entire country will be behind the boks, supporting them all the way. I am extremely excited about the RWC! The Boks can count on my support!

      Armchair critic - 2011-08-22 14:02

      It is better to use Bismarck off the bence, because if we lose the WC because of all the penalties that he gave away, everyone will have lots to say. Rather play it save than sorry.

  • - 2011-08-22 09:06

    Unecessarily negative article. After beating a team that has lost only 2 games in the last season and a half, (albeit an understrgnth one), justifies some balance in reporting. The WC is a one-off must-win environment, with the favourites only once before having won it (1987). I believe the boks will gain in confidence as the tournament progresses, with a semi and final being knock-out rugby, regardless of how pretty it looks, the boks will be capable of beating anyone on their day! Go Boys!!

  • Chief Kok - 2011-08-22 09:09

    Congratulations to the springboks on beating the All Blacks on Saturday, BUT what concerns me is that the boks are all of a sudden gonna win the WC after they struggled and bleed to beat our B team. They must not flatter themselves like that. But it is also understood that a victory against the ABs is similar to winning a WC - even our B team. And especially if you last beat the ABs in September 2009. SA is the only country celebrating their wooden spoon status in a tournament. The boks played hard and with passion, but can they keep this intensity for 7 matches in the WC? I don't think so. It was a do-or-die match in which they came out top. That was their only motivator. The decisions of the ref at the breakdowns were sometimes disappointing and pathetic, because the boks got away with a lot of infringements at the breakdowns and the ABs was penalized without warnings. The boks backline were consistently off side. And I don't even want to mention the lack of protocol from the TMO. You are always a weak ref if you are coached by the moaning players the whole time (Du Preez and Matfield). Clownsy was never in control of the match. The boks defended well, but our rusty backline still got through their firstline defense easily. Etc. Etc. Etc. Point: I won't be too optimistic about winning the WC if I were a bok player of a bok supporter. They have no practice matches left while Aus and NZ still play this coming weekend.

      Drewka - 2011-08-22 09:29

      Ai Cocky, this is just the beginning. We made a lot of mistakes yes, and luckily we still have time to rectify that in the coming 7 games. The boks showed guts, but they also showed that if you put pressure on an All Black flyhalf, that their house of cards comes down. Slade didn’t know what to do with the ball because of immense pressure on him from Brussow, Spies & Alberts. The same would happen to Carter in the WC. The AB's is busy running out of steam and I fear that they won't get passed the French (again) in their pool match. Chocking all the way home... or wait, they will be home.

      Chief Kok - 2011-08-22 09:43

      Nonsense, Drewka. (I would appreciate it if you can call me on my profile name). You talk rubbish. This was an AB B team who had a lot players who were injured and missed out on a lot of S15 matches and played their 1st test this year. We played trials to fill the reserve spots for the WC. Carter is no Slade. Carter is too clever for you and Richie and Reid will never allow your flankers to put pressure on Carter. We are playing intelligent footie. Our first choice players were clearly missed, but GH had no choice because he had to finalise his WC squad. YOU ARE CURRENTLY UNDER ILLUSION.

      StaalBurgher - 2011-08-22 10:10

      "Cocky" is a good name for you. I think all of us on Sport24 should adopt it. I just had to laugh Cocky's use of the word "we". It is "they". "You" are just a sad, racist mofo.

      Drewka - 2011-08-22 10:24

      History tells us that the All Blacks (always a phenomenal side) have almost every time peeked pre-maturely before World Cups. The same this year, with the TN's almost in the pocket, and the favourites to win the RWC tournament, history repeats itself. Every team knows that Carter is the kingpin, and if you watch the replays of matches that they've lost over the last couple of years, its matches where Carter is eliminated. All the teams would build their defence plans around Carter, and sorry to say, he’s going to be like Johnny Wilkinson in RWC 2007, useless to his team if eliminated!!! Springboks on the other hand have the luxury of two flyhalfs playing a very different game, making them a very dangerous side, with big men like Alberts, Spies, Bismarck, Bakkies & Beast protecting the backline, and putting pressure on the opposition. In all fairness the All Black “B”team played with their “A” team plan, and that backfired in their faces. Graeme Henry should rather look at a more upfront gameplan with the excellent forwards that they have, then to leave all the pressure on the Flyhalf.

      Chief Kok - 2011-08-22 10:24

      Thanks for your compliment on being sad and racist. All your comments are racist aswell. I am an All Blacks supporter, that's why I say "we".

      Maori - 2011-08-22 10:29

      @Drewka - you clearly do not understand the beautiful game - the bokkies still receive the wooden spoon, fininished en klaar! The bokkies could not even smash our (Staalburger, I see OUR!) young guns. Can never compare Slade to King Carter - he will get better. I do not sense any panic or dissent in the AB camp - in previous world cups we smashed everyone before the tournament and get stuck half way through. This year we lost a game and keep our feet on the ground. No time to be complacent - bokkies showed their game plane albeit so outdated - suddenly Rassie and Nienaber get all the credit for the win!

      Hennie Kotze - 2011-08-22 10:30

      Hey there cock, win the WC and then come tune the Boks. Nuff said

      Maori - 2011-08-22 10:34

      @Staalburger - why are you such a narrow minded little racist twit? Play the ball and not the man.

      Drewka - 2011-08-22 10:48

      @Maori, it's a shame to see guy like you & kok, supporting the foes. If you did'nt get the shivers when the crowd silenced the haka, and all true South Africans stood behind the boys 100%, then you should rather move to NZ. But I beg to differ with you on your comment about the beautiful game. The boks never show their cards before the WC, and therefore they played a different game plan to the one they will showcase in NZ. Do you really think that Rassie would be there if they didn’t realise that they need something new??? But it’s not only game plans, tactical playing and fitness that win WC games, it’s the heart of the players that would lift that trophy, and I hope for your sake you maori and cocky, that the AB's would have the heart this time around, because the Boks showed that the still have.

      Shistirrer - 2011-08-22 10:52

      So tell me Chief Kak, are all the other AB supporters "we"-eing themselves too?

      Chief Kok - 2011-08-22 11:49

      @Drewka: We are not you lot. We respect others' traditions; we don't silence it by barbaric bahaviour. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

      GraemeBB - 2011-08-22 13:31

      @KOK - you are not an AB. I know you wish you were, but are not. By the way, the pool games are the warm-ups boet. Any team can gain or lose momentum in the pool stages. When we reach the quarter finals, we will know just how ready we are.

  • Andrew - 2011-08-22 09:09

    Awesome win, I did not think that we would do it, clearly I was wrong. Some awesome performances, Jaque, Morne, Bakkies and Heinrich to mentions a few. Bismark was clearly in a class of his own but made the mistake (unfortunately) of showing what he thought of the decision to take him off. Jannie obviously was also dissapointed and it showed. Don't tell me that there is no dissent in the team over Smit being there, 66% of the fron row was pissed of with the decision. Why did Smit come on, Bismark was on fire, Victor seemed to have the Captaincy down pat. If Smit came on as an impact player then we have answered that question, he made no impact, hardly saw him in the game. The only thing to add is that although Victor Captained well he tends to get very rattled when captaining the Boks and the they are behind, Smit does not get rattled.

  • Drewka - 2011-08-22 09:09

    Smit is our captain!!! Not the best defender, not the strongest, but the more clinical no.2. His lineout are spot on, he has safe hands and bloody hell he won a few titles in his day. Give him a some credit; and he will bring the WC home. Bismarck played excellent, and he is most probably one of the best hookers in world rugby, but if he has an off day, things would come crumbling down. Smit plays a constant game.

  • levit8 - 2011-08-22 09:10

    Come on everyone ... build a bridge and get over it already !!! The Boks have bigger issues than John Smit. As awesome as the result was, we have some serious issues. There 21 linebreaks against us by this AB side !!! Seriously !!?? Convert even a quarter of those and we would have been toast. Our scramble defence was outstanding, as was our spirit, commitment, intensity, but that counts for nothing if the opposition are racking up points. We need to realise our backline is there for more than just tackling and chasing kicks. We also can't keep gifting possession to the opposition with the bloody incessant kicks. Give the opposition 60% possesion and territory and 21 linebreaks and it doesn't matter who's on the field, you're more than likely going to be on the losing side at the final whistle.

  • FJ2 - 2011-08-22 09:15

    Just give them some support, please! This team may just surprise us. They have loads of experience and they know what it takes. This is the team we have at the moment and the away leg of the Tri-nations showed that we don't have any better. I, for one, am going to trust them and the management from now on. England also took 'geriatrics' to the 2007 tournament and they got to whithin a whisker of the title. Their style of play may look sterile at the moment, but that is what they know and they certainly know how to implement it, as Saturday has shown. They also don't buckle under pressure all that easily. Coupled with good defense, even scrambling defense, they can still be a force to be reckoned with and I believe they will be. The biggest problem at the moment is lack of game time together, but as they already know each other well, I believe they will gel easily and be worthy defenders of their title. There is going to be al lot of red faces among their detractors - very soon.

  • Maori - 2011-08-22 09:20

    Well done bokkies! I love the false sense of security among the saffa fans. Suddenly, the boks are back and play like the real champions - wow! The manner in which Dagg and company broke the first line defense and create opportunities must set off the alarm bells! With patience, it will be converted in points down under. Cannot wait for the world cup to start. No tries in two games! Oh, I forgot, only a defensive game wins a world cup. I understand from reliable sources that Rassie Erasmus and Nienaber must get credit for the win and not the clown! Enjoy the victory, savour it and good luck down under.

      Chief Kok - 2011-08-22 09:25

      Congratulations to the springboks on beating the All Blacks on Saturday, BUT what concerns me is that the boks are all of a sudden gonna win the WC after they struggled and bleed to beat our B team. They must not flatter themselves like that. But it is also understood that a victory against the ABs is similar to winning a WC - even our B team. And especially if you last beat the ABs in September 2009. SA is the only country celebrating their wooden spoon status in a tournament. The boks played hard and with passion, but can they keep this intensity for 7 matches in the WC? I don't think so. It was a do-or-die match in which they came out top. That was their only motivator. The decisions of the ref at the breakdowns were sometimes disappointing and pathetic, because the boks got away with a lot of infringements at the breakdowns and the ABs was penalized without warnings. The boks backline were consistently off side. And I don't even want to mention the lack of protocol from the TMO. You are always a weak ref if you are coached by the moaning players the whole time (Du Preez and Matfield). Clownsy was never in control of the match. The boks defended well, but our rusty backline still got through their firstline defense easily. Etc. Etc. Etc. Point: I won't be too optimistic about winning the WC if I were a bok player of a bok supporter. They have no practice matches left while Aus and NZ still play this coming weekend. - 2011-08-22 09:55

      I doubt any Bok fan is that deluded. Even the Bok players said there is still more to be done after Saturday's game. BUT this win has been a timely and telling blow to the myth of the 'unstoppable All Blacks" (p.s. Kok pls stop cutting and pasting the same comments, you wasting space)

      Chief Kok - 2011-08-22 10:04

      @herb: just making sure you get my point.

      Sh@rks Fever - 2011-08-22 10:07

      Maori and Kok. We are under no illusions that the Boks are now suddenly gonna win the WC. We are just happy after the win. Fact is that it was an improvement on the last few performances and just as you guys say Dagg broke our line to easily and we should be worried, I can say well a world class player like him should then have scored so you guys should be worried. In many peoples opinion Dagg is the best Fullback in Nzl. Doesn't matter though. And the WC is 3 weeks away, if you not ready now no practice matches will get you ready. Luckily we can practice against Wales etc cause we all know that our only major threats are the All Blacks and Wallabies and depending on their form, England and France. You guys though will have to select your strongest team come Saturday to face the wallabies, cause this team wouldn't beat them. And hopefully your bodies will recover come WC cause I don't think Saturday will be a soft one due to whats up for grabs.

      FJ2 - 2011-08-22 11:13

      @Maori: No, actually PdV should get the credit for the win, which he engineered despite being shackled by his two sidekicks Gold and Muir.

  • jeremy - 2011-08-22 09:21

    Look, let's not forget the Boks beat the All Blacks soundly on Saturday, admittedly minus a couple of key players, but still regarded as the best team in the world. That's not bad for a bunch of "geriatrics." As for John Smit, he may not be the best hooker in the world, but he may just be the best captain! Which is exactly why Graeme Smith is still the Proteas captain, even though his current batting form leaves a lot to be desired....

  • springbokke - 2011-08-22 09:22

    I requote.......''The Boks are on a no win situation, ...Win , and it will be said that they faced N.Zs 'B' team..Loose ..need I say more?''................They doned the N.Z. Jersey and lost.....enough said. ...Bokke.

  • Anthony - 2011-08-22 09:23

    It might be better if we lose to Wales and dodge a semi-final with AB.

  • Mark - 2011-08-22 09:36

    Play Bismarck for 75 minutes agains Wales and Samoa and Fiji and then 79 minutes in the QF if we want to get past the QF. After that he has to play every second of every game. Fourie Du Preez should also not play in the important games . Hougaard is much better and hungrier. Pietersen should not even go!!!

  • - 2011-08-22 09:43

    I think some journos are just trying to stir the pot here

  • CM - 2011-08-22 09:43

    Would all the fair weather bok supporters just f off

  • Concerned - 2011-08-22 09:47

    PdV is known as "Die Bok Wagter" What chance have we got ? Is a shepard up to the task ?

  • WIllie Botha - 2011-08-22 09:53

    Well done Smitty and the Boks! We're right behind you!

  • max bhula - 2011-08-22 09:57

    well written article that is objectively critical of what we have seen in recent week in the form of our beloved Boks.... but experience might play a role too do not count that out

  • Chilli Boy - 2011-08-22 09:58

    Who wrote this article? It was clearly written befor Saturday's Test and is just a summary of the ills of the past year. It's time to bury all the negatives in a deep hole and start supporting our team 150 000%. Saturday's result was the start of the RWC journey,and we do know that this team will fight to the death for themselves,the Springbok jersey,the country and their supporters.Enough is enough,let's all pull for the Bokke like never before, and be a united and committed support. The All Blacks are good, and have played some amazing rugby, but look at their record.They peaked before 2003 and 2007, and froze into submission during the RWC. The chances are high that they will do it again.Don't bet on it,but there is so much pressure on them to produce.

  • Statistic - 2011-08-22 10:06

    Kak article, lets just get behind the boks already...

  • Sighnide - 2011-08-22 10:17

    Rugby fans.... a point to debate. There has been a bunch of noise in the press about the “old” Boks, the team that made us PROUD when they won the RWC in 2007 – they are has-beens, past their sell by date etc etc... I was a little concerned so I tried to recall another “old” team that played in a RWC and did okay.... roll back to 2003 and the roses of England. Not only did they silence their critics by lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy, they did it with a squad whose average age was 29. So with the power of the internet and a spreadsheet I set to work as it so happens our likely matchday 22 will have an avarage age of.....wait for it..... 28, not so old after all it seems. The 6 oldest members of the Springbok team (Smit - 33, Botha - 31 , Matfield - 34, Roussouw - 33, de Villiers - 30 and Steenkamp - 30) show that even our oldest 2007 legends are younger than those of England in 2003 Jason Leonard (age 35) Dorian West (age 36) Martin Johnson (age 33) Neil Back (age 34) Kyran Bracken (age 32) Lawrence Dallaglio (age 31) So what does this mean? We have the experience in ALL areas, our guys have been there before and we have to back them to do it again.

  • jochem - 2011-08-22 10:30

    @Zolani, don't you spot sarcasm when it's thrown in your face?

  • graham.symons - 2011-08-22 10:33

    All you idiots should stop the nonsense now!!. You will be the first to be on the buss to say I told you so when and if we do succeed in our quest. Get behind the team and support them all the way or just shut up.

  • Matthew - 2011-08-22 10:45

    John Smit has brilliant leadership capabilities and is more than capable of leading OUR boys' to another World Cup victory. It would be a mistake leaving a man such as him out of the squad. His experience definitely makes up for his recent lack in skill. This article is demeaning towards our team! Lets get behind them, we CAN & WILL win!

  • Bluffbandit - 2011-08-22 10:51

    When will we learn.. its is so easy to be positive.. the negativety amongst us is too contagious.. Opinions are like a*s h*les as the saying goes.. Go bokke, you had doubters against the Kiwis this week end, and "we" won

  • Avi27 - 2011-08-22 11:00

    PART 1 Congratulations to the BOKS for grinding out a “bloody “ victory. We finally got a win. The BOKS showed the world that still a force to be reckon with. So far both AB’s and Boks did not face each other at full strength and it seemsits going to happen in thesemi. This what I picked up: 1.Boks look really GOOD when Bismark and Brussow are on the field. They worked well at the breakdown and that combo is lethal. Hats off to Brussow you were AWSOME at the breakdown 2.Scums were awesome esp when Smit was on the bench. If we want to win the WC then Div needs to keep Smit on the bench in the big games till the 70+ mark. 3.Morne had a better game with the forwards giving him front foot ball. Lets face it it a cache 22, if Morne plays we not going to score many tries but we will keep the board ticking. Morne should play till 50min and score points (penalties, drops) Lambie should come on to try to get the backs in the game. Lambie looked really good in the 20min he played, he broke the AB’s line with ease which not many of the other Boks did. 4.Habana worked 120% for the team but he HAS TO STOP looking for the intercept. 5.FdP is still rusty and we yet to see is magic, we definitely have a much better chance to score tries once he is firing. 6.BOKS cover defence was Brilliant

      Avi27 - 2011-08-22 11:01

      PART 2 7.We have the forwards to dominate any game and teams are bound to make mistakes if they keep getting hammered by Bismark, Beast, Bakkies, Alberts. 8.We cannot go with a 5-2 split on the bench as it going to hurt us if someone gets injured early in the game. 9.Boks still have a long way to go but things can only get better.If we going to win the WC we need to defend better than we ever did and we need to limit the number of line breaks otherwise we going to get punished. We also need to somehow score at least 2 tries a game cos we can’t always rely on getting penalties. We need to make things happen, we have the team that can do it but we need these guys need to step up and show and remind the World why we are WORLD CHAMPIONS. GO BOKKE!!!

  • Piet - 2011-08-22 11:02

    Hooker this, tight-head that - he is the best captain by far and in a World Cup his leadership will be priceless - come one lets suppor the guy and lets support the Green and Gold !

  • Edwin - 2011-08-22 11:17

    A letter I wrote some months back to our ‘Hallowed Captain “Dear John, It is so sad to write a letter about the parting of ways. There is no doubt about your loyalty and even less regarding the passion you have invested in this relationship. In every way you have been exemplarily even to the point of giving up being a hooker when asked to do so and bend down in a new position. “However all good things do end sometime and this is the moment for me. Do not call me fickle and don’t question my sincerity. I know that age should not be an issue but even for the best of the best the inexorable passing of days, weeks, months and years changes all the building blocks that have made this relationship what it is the time for farewells. “This afternoon the partnership of yourself and coach De Villiers comes once again under the spotlight. Recent times have not been good for either of you, me and the avid South African rugby fans. While De Villiers has lived up to his reputation as a previously backwater coach appointed on a political platform, you are the total opposite...self-made, talented, a gentleman and ambassador, and most of all a great player and captain. (continued)

  • StBad - 2011-08-22 12:24

    Well it's too late now, our second stringers have shown that they are no where near the level of our 'geriatric' starting line up so we just have to put our confidence in these guys... and I do!

  • Skilpop - 2011-08-22 12:35

    When did we become so English? For various reasons South African rugby is going through a dry spell. We as the public can't do much to change PDV's selection or improve the form of our players (he is about as useless as our govenrment). What we can do is believe in our boys and stand behind them. The world cup is here, it is too late to get a new coach, or a new captain, or wish our players were more fit. I think the boys are playing it safe and have a plan. South Africa is not like New Zealand who givees their best every time they are on the field. I think South Africa have the ability to win when it matters. We are playing New Zealand in the semi's whether we like it or not.

  • Jonathan - 2011-08-22 14:13

    Oh this one is only slightly bias! But I read it then saw the AFP logo and realised it was written for the French audience... The listener is crucial to understand the tone and intention. Same as when we read articles about the exciting Wallaby bakline with a drinking problem!

  • int1m1d4t0r - 2011-08-22 17:07

    Everyone here is retarded! A win is a win! who cares about no tries or how it was done... it is purely about winning.. as long as the team played fairly and the refs, ref fairly... a win is a win.. New Zealand play a really gay brand of running rugby... i personally prefer big hits and tackles and clean outs... SA have always been a forward dominated rugby nation... if you do not like a it... why not join the kullards who support the AB's .... Please.... Cherish a win against the AB's The only reason Henry didnt play his first rate side is because he was scared that if they lost to the boks, then real alarm bells would have gone off.... so actually haha to them.... we destroyed them in the scrums and breakdowns... and that is how you beat the All Blacks :) which we did....

  • Eugene - 2011-08-23 09:40

    He he. What a differ de a game makes.

  • BigRed - 2011-08-23 14:40

    The average age of the Wales team that beat England two weeks ago was 25. James Hook 26 George North 19 Jamie Roberts 24 Gavin Henson 29 Shane Williams 34 Rhys Priestland 24 Mike Phillips 28 Paul James 29 Lloyd Burns 26 Craig Mitchell 25 Alun Wyn Jones 25 Luke Charteris 28 Dan Lydiate 24 Sam Warburton 22 Toby Faletau 20

  • BigRed - 2011-08-23 14:52

    Due to injuries and the return of the prop Adam Jones, this is the likely Wales team to line up against the Boks on 11th September. Rhys Priestland 24 George North 19 Jamie Roberts 24 Scott Williams 20 Shane Williams 34 James Hook 26 Mike Phillips 28 Paul James 29 Lloyd Burns 26 Adam Jones 30 Alun Wyn Jones 25 Bradley Davies 24 Dan Lydiate 24 Sam Warburton 22 Toby Faletau 20

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