Springboks Crush New Zealand

Ian TaitCorrespondent IAugust 3, 2009

Okay, so I have been in hiding. Call it a lack of inspiration, or just being plain lazy.


What has happened over the past few weeks?


Well, a lot did.


The Lions toured South Africa and lost, although they can take pride in a convincing victory in their third test.


In Durban and Pretoria, the Springboks outplayed the Lions, but silly substitutions and team selections put the Boks under a huge amount of pressure, and Peter De Villiers almost successfully threw away the series.


But alas for the Lions, the World Champions had something else in store.


One thing is clear: The Springboks need forwards like John Smith, Bakkies Botha and Heinrich Brussow to start and play for the rest of the season.


The center combination of De Villiers and Fourie is unmatched anywhere in the world, and young Francois Steyn must always play at full back.


Simply put, if Grey College thought he was a full back, South African rugby should sit up and take note.



Well, on to the Tri Nations.


Australia started like a team possessed in Auckland, but faulted in the second half.


New Zealand was always going to struggle in Bloemfontein, and that they did. Ruan Pienaar, despite missing a few kicks, dominated the three quarters. Before leaving the field, he had the Boks set up for a large victory over the Blacks.


Along to Durban comes Morne Steyn, who is my first choice for fly half for the Springboks. After scoring all 31 points for South Africa, he looks set to be on the bench for the Australian test in Cape Town.


"Why?" you may ask, and again, I can only comment on what PDV said at breakfast on Friday morning:


If Ruan was fit, he would play. If Schalk was available, he would play over Brussow, and if he could, Januaries would play every time for the Boks.


This is a statement that Peter will stick to. And being a strong-willed, little man, I think he will stick to his guns. What this means to South African rugby is simple: Lose Dick Muir and Gary Gold, and you will lose the best test team in the world.


"Window dressing" is something we as South Africans have learned to do well over the year, from the lies of the old National Party to that of today’s current government.


Rugby is currently doing very well in South Africa. Our Currie Cup is doing well, our schools are doing very well, and even our Varsity Cup is a fantastic tournament and has already produced some Currie Cup players this season.


But certain political fronts demanding that eight players of colour need to be in the starting lineup for the Currie Cup is crazy. Every player of colour that has been represented by the Sharks, Bulls, Lions, and so forth are there on merit. They are the best in the province in that position.


It is time for the politicians to stay out of sport and let the players and coaches go ahead and play rugby.


But enough of my little whine for the week, and on to something worthy of special mention:


Springbok Captain John Smit capped 85 times for the Springboks and 60 times as captain (A world record for a forward). He won the Tri-Nations, World Cup Jr . and Sr., and Lions' Tour.


The only thing missing is a Grand Slam tour victory. To John, well done!


On the local Currie Cup scene, there is only one team at the moment, the Wildeklawer Griquas. They have beaten everyone they have faced, including Free State, The Bulls, and The Lions.


Western Province is lying second on the log on points difference with Sharks, and in fourth place lies the Bulls. The only upside for the Bulls and Sharks is that when the Springboks return, the rest of the teams will be blown away.


But this is a long competition and the Boks will still be away for another six weeks, so they will only return in the second round of the Currie Cup. So the weaker side must make hay while they can.


On to the Newlands' test on Saturday:


How are the two teams going to approach the game?


The Australian team seems to think that the Kiwis tried to stay away from the Bok forwards by spreading the ball wide on almost every occasion they could.


Robbie Deans, who will join the team later this week after dealing with the recent loss of his father, knows that the only way to give his deadly backs the advantage is by neutralising the Boks' strengths, namely, the lineouts and the scrums.


They will target Beast and our lineout. If they're successful, they will unleash Mortlock, Barns, and Giteau on our backs.


One very interesting battle will be that of the fetchers Brussow and Smith. I, for one, will be watching this with intense pleasure. For young Heinrich, this will be his biggest challenge of his test career.


The centers' battle should be another cracker, but hopefully if the ball can get to the backline without too much tactical kicking, we might just have an amazing game of running rugby.


To the Tait clan in Grahamstown and Cape Town, have a blast at the game, and may it be a better test than the one we saw last year in Durban.


I will have more news next time on the English Premier League that kicks off on Aug. 15. I'll include interesting bits on transfers, and what the pundit’s reckon their crystal balls predict.


I'll provide news on the ashes, after the draw in the third test.


And of course, the talking point in motorsport: the return of the greatest driver of all time, Micheal Schumarker.


Until next time,