The Springbok’s World Cup warm up lies in tatters, but there is still plenty of reason to believe that we can emerge triumphant come the October 31 final.
I’m hurting, I’m not going to lie.
Not only did we lose to Australia and New Zealand, we then went on to lose to Argentina for the first time (officially that is; we lost unofficially to them in the 60s.) We have a list of injured players that seems to consistently be at least 5 men long, we’re embroiled in an ugly transformation spat with COSATU and, as of Monday, we now find ourselves ranked 5th in the World, a record low as I recall.
But I believe that we will be competitive at the World Cup. Even though our path to the final is going to see us lock horns with (probably) Wales or Australia, and then the All Blacks – we can do it.
Here are three simple reasons why:
1. Heyneke Meyer IS a good coach
The man has taken a pasting in the wake of ArgentinaGate, with many experts – both on the couch and in the media – calling for his head. I’m not here to make excuses on his behalf but I just thought I’d take this opportunity to remind you that he is an acclaimed coach. He has won numerous domestic cups (Currie Cup, Super Rugby) and while he is yet to pouch a trophy for the Boks, he was until recently the second most successful Bok coach to date with a 72% win rate. This warm up period has cost him however, and he now finds himself on 65%. To put it into perspective: Jake White got 67% and PDivvy before him 62%.
White was given four years, so too was PDivvy – let’s give Heyneke the same respect.
2. Our team is loaded with world-beaters
I know, I know – you are only as good as your last game. But what we always seem to forget in this country is that class is permanent, form is temporary. At the World Cup, our team will feature players like Habana, Schalk Burger, Eben Etzebeth, Bismarck Du Plessis, Pat Lambie and Duane Vermeulen. These are all guys who are experienced and would waltz into any team on the planet. They come with a presence, and while just showing up is going to get us nothing but a walloping by another Argentina, these guys are built for the big stage and we should expect them to shine. It’s now or never.
3. We are the Springboks
Aside from the All Blacks, the Springbok emblem has to be one of the most admired in the world of rugby. We are a proud side with a proud record, and when they are handing out the jerseys in the lead-up to our first game of the tournament, I can guarantee you that that is what they will be reminded of. Out of our 444 games, we’ve won 281 and lost 142. Over the years we’ve humbled many a team, banked many a trophy and shown the world what we are capable of.
What the Springboks really need now is support. The trip to Buenos Aires is going to be key but if we can get one back against the Pumas – and hopefully look good doing it – we’ll restore a sense of constructiveness to our World Cup prep.
Those right there are three reasons to believe that we will be competitive at this World Cup. What are your thoughts? Do you think we are done for? Or are we going all the way? Hit us with a tweet @leftbacks or drop us a comment.