Springboks: 3 Reasons To Believe

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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.

Ugly.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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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.

 

5 comments:

  1. I commend you on your positive outlook and seeing the dim silver lining, but to look at those 3 points as cornerstones of a grueling campaign that will no doubt add to our average of a 5-man injury list is not going to cut it. Transformation won’t solve our woes, political intervention has never solved sporting matters, so we can/should shelve that concept.

    HM may be a very good and successful coach, but just as players need to step up a gear when it comes to the international stage, so do the coaches. We see many players shine at domestic and Super Rugby level only to be silenced at international level.

    While I am patriotic to the bitter end and will wear my Green and Gold (Springbok on the front) as often as possible, The Boks ascending to the top step come 31 October will be nothing short of a miracle, divine intervention, stars aligning or manna from the heavens…whichever takes your fancy.

    It’s far too late for the coach to change strategies or manpower, he’s been playing open cards for nearly two years, so we all knew what his ideas and intentions were from the start. And he’s far too stubborn to change anyway.

    We’ll just have to play the hand we’ve been dealt…I’ll be supporting no matter what

  2. Shot for the banter, Riaan. Love it!

    On the HM point, that’s exactly my view – he has stepped up in the international arena and he has had more success (until recently) than Jake White and PDivvy. His win percentage proves it. Not only that but he has taken a bold, new approach to team selection (unlike PDivvy) that has led to the arrival of some of the Springbok’s biggest stars (Vermeulen, Etzebeth, DdA, Kriel etc) – he isn’t perfect and sometimes, I rate, the pressure of the public gets to him and he gets coy with selections.

    Do me a favour and watch him when the national anthem plays – he sings as if his life depended on it and that is passion, the hallmark of a good coach.

    He is far from perfect but a perfect coach does not exist. How long did it take Alex Ferguson to get Man United on track? Do you think Steve Hansen is a great coach?

    The World Cup is not going to be easy (we’ll have to beat the best to win it all) and I am not saying we are DEFINITELY going all the way. However I can guarantee you that by the time the tourney rolls around we’ll be ready, we’ll be competitive and we will want nothing less than to take home that cup.

    We have the coach, we have the players, we just can’t afford complacency.

    Peace out!

    1. We don’t need a passionate, singing coach…we need a coaching coach.
      I have no clue who Alex Ferguson is, I see you mention Man United so I’m assuming he was their coach…
      Steve Hansen is a crappy coach, I personally believe that the players McCaw, Read etc are running the team. He’s just there to clap hands and talk to the presenters

      I’m not doubting the team’s hunger to win. Heck, after their last 3 games they must be starving, I’m just concerned that they’ll run onto the field, sing passionately, have a plan(of some sorts), execute the plan, fail and not have a Plan B. We haven’t had a Plan B under HM.

      1. I feel you Riaan and your concerns are valid.

        Like I said in the post – Saturday is an opportunity to restore a semblance of momentum and it might just be the most important game we’ve played in a awhile!

        On the plan B thing, I have felt this way before too – even wrote a post about it: http://leftbacks.co.za/do-the-springboks-have-a-plan-b/ – and i agree. Don’t however feel like we need a plan B though, we need more of a plan AB – a build rather than something new and revolutionary.

  3. I agree with Riaan in his comments above Juan’s, sorry Juan! The bottom line is just that! Our guys are very tough, or not capable, not sure how to plan and change to plan B, if ever they got one. Suppose we have to give HM another change, got no choice, but he will have to change his whole approach/strategy in coaching, if he does not do that nothing will change, I’m afraid we will not even get to the semies. Sorry about that “öutsider looking in” 😉 Will happily eat my Springbok cap!

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