Since the Japan shock – while the Springboks haven’t been magnificent – they have comfortably dispatched Samoa, Scotland and the USA scoring 17 tries in the process. With the knock outs looming – it is now time for them to start believing that they can go all the way.
Few rugby scribes in South Africa have been optimistic about the Springbok’s chances in the remainder of Rugby World Cup 2015 and perhaps justifiably so – we lost to Japan in our first game of the show piece.
Words like “predictable”, “boring” and “too forward-orientated” are words that are regular included in post match summaries of Springbok matches here in South Africa and are listed as reasons why we don’t stand a chance against the New Zealands, Australias and Irelands of the world either. Not sure how Ireland are in the same category as the other two but I am quoting here so be that as it may – they are predicting that the Springbok wheels come off in the knock outs.
And they might.
But the other day, a mate recommended that I check out the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian – two UK based media outlets – and get their take on the Boks and their performance over the last 3 matches.
And what they had to say was on the polar opposite of the spectrum.
Words like “juggernaut”, “attitude”, “ferocious” and “immense physicality” are the kinds of words UK scribes associate with the Springboks. While they didn’t dismiss the Japan result nor did they gloss over the mediocrity of the Springbok year to date – they were very bullish in their opinion that the Springboks have restored themselves as genuine title contenders.
And the Springboks, more than anyone, need to believe that they are from this point forward.
In the last 3 games there has almost been a paranoid desperation to the Springboks and while it is understandable – it’s now time to put that behind us and look forward.
While we need to always respect our opposition – we should never, for one second, think that they can beat us. We’ll probably come up against Wales in the QF and, in my opinion, they are no match for us. Sure they have beaten us in the past but they are ravaged with injuries and have clawed their way out of the most unfortunate pool in Rugby World Cup history.
As Gatland always says “they are ripe for the picking”.
So let’s go out there, secure the result and get ready to put the All Blacks in their place. After all, there are probably only 3 teams in world rugby who can; one is France on their day, the other is Australia and the last is the mighty Springboks.
Bring on the playoffs – we are ready for them.