Bismarck du Plessis stopped in his tracks... (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ embarrassing 34-32 Rugby World Cup defeat to Japan in Brighton.
1. Biggest upset in history of rugby union
Many pundits labelled world No 13 Japan’s win as the biggest upset in the history of the Rugby World Cup.
I would go one better and say it was the biggest upset in the history of rugby union. It quite simply should not have happened. Any top Currie Cup team would get the better of Japan.
The Bok coaching staff as well as the senior players should hang their heads in shame. They disgraced themselves as well as the jersey they play for.
2. The genius of Eddie Jones will boost Stormers
Japan coach Eddie Jones admitted afterwards that he did not think his team would have any chance of beating their much bigger and more fancied opponents.
However, he got his game plan spot on by employing a fast-paced game against a tired-looking and slow Springbok team.
They outfoxed the Springboks and you can’t help but think they would not have done it without the genius of Jones.
It’s the worst kept secret that he will coach the Stormers next year and don’t be surprised if he works wonders with the perennial under-performers in Super Rugby...
3. Is an over-reliance on experience really the answer?
It’s a bit ironic that the most experienced Springbok team in history also suffered the worst result in their history.
Coach Heyneke Meyer has been criticised for his continual backing of older, more experienced players.
He brought Victor Matfield in out of retirement, basically assured Jean de Villiers a starting spot if he could overcome a horrific knee injury and picked players who played very little rugby this year.
Sadly, it appears to have backfired badly on the Bok mentor...
4. Boks need a new starting scrumhalf
Apart from Lood de Jager, all Springbok players deserved a fail mark on their report card for the game.
However, this writer feels scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar deserves a special mention. He was overshadowed by his opposite number, Fumiaki Tanaka. The Highlanders scrumhalf is the smallest player in the tournament, but his speedy service made Pienaar look average.
Pienaar is slow and doesn’t seem to add anything. His tactical kicking is below the standard of an international scrumhalf, while you’ll hardly ever see him take a gap.
Expect Fourie du Preez to start against Samoa this Saturday.
5. Boks’ lack of invention
The Springboks scored four tries against Japan. However, the manner in which they did it was not overly impressive. Two tries came via driving mauls, while the other two were results of poor one-on-one tackling from the diminutive Japanese.
The Boks again lacked spark and inventiveness on attack and it’s no wonder Nick Mallett said afterwards they were “impotent”.
Meyer needs to realise that what worked for his Bulls team in 2007 is not going to win Rugby World Cup 2015...