What a difference a week makes!

2015-09-29 11:59
Stefan Terblanche (Gallo Images)

What a difference a week makes in the rugby world!

After walking around moping and sulking for the last week we can at least go into this week with a big smile and look forward to what should be a cracker of a game against Scotland.

The game will take place just south of the Scottish border and in the city of Newcastle. Apart from the thousands of Scots making the journey across the border for the tartan army the game should also be a first for St. James' Park, home ground to the Newcastle football team or The Magpies as referred to by the locals. I look even more forward to this game than most of you and I will tell you exactly why in a moment.

Let’s go back to the Samoa game and touch on some of the areas of improvement from last weekend against Japan. We also need to look at the number of tries we scored and wasn’t it just fantastic to see that our wingers scored 4 of these scintillating tries. That’s exactly what wing play is all about and even though the speedsters just finished the move off, the hard work was done way earlier in the build up to these tries. Welcome Back JP Pietersen.

The Boks love playing against Samoa and the structure of Bok rugby suits this sort of game down to the proverbial tee.  We drove well, we scrum well, we kicked well and we defended well. In fact not only did we defend well but we defended like a team that wanted to make the extra tackle. We looked like a team defending our tryline and the gain line really meant something to us and that we almost took it personally. We could see that every tackle had intend and that we wanted the stop the big Samoans in their tracks and behind the gain line. In the process we denied the Samoans of scoring any tries in 80 minutes of play and that was the most impressive statistic to me on the day.

Structure, structure and some more structure!

Even though The Boks love playing against Samoa and we always do well against them Saturday’s win came at a cost as so many times before in this fixture. Jean De Villiers’s Rugby World Cup is officially over after it being in doubt for almost a year. Jean made a near miraculous recovery after that horrific knee injury against Wales in Cardiff in November and then broke his jaw in the gut wrenching defeat to Argentina in Durban. After making another near miraculous recovery from the broken jaw injury and losing 6 kg’s in the process he eventually got on that flight to The UK to lead his team. The jaw is broken again and Jean will take no further part in this rugby showpiece. We wish him a speedy recovery and congratulate him on a fantastic test rugby career.

The Boks are very fortunate to have 2 youngsters playing like old seasoned pros in the 12 and 13 jerseys, the very same jersey that Jean occupied for over a 100 test matches. In Damian de Allende and Jessie Kriel we have 2 world-class players who showed against The Wallabies and much fancied All Blacks centre pairing of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith that they can compete at the highest level and against the best in the world. People often ask questions about the age of players playing international rugby and I always tell them, ‘when you good enough you are old enough’. When in doubt just think back to Rugby World Cup 2007 and a young Frans Steyn setting the tournament alight in the place of the injured Jean De Villiers becoming the youngest ever Rugby World Cup winner at the age of 20.

I mentioned earlier that I am particularly excited about the Scottish game this coming weekend.

My next column I will be writing from Newcastle and be sure to give Dunlop a follow on Twitter @JohnBoydSA and also myself @StefanT15 to catch all the action and news as it unfolds from the game at St. James' Park.

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