Angry Australians Conspire to Belittle and Punish the Springboks
After the third great consecutive Springbok victory in the Tri-nations, I've found the reaction of the Australians and New Zealanders hard to fathom.
The Springboks built their victories with brutal, uncompromising forward play. Their forward pack was disciplined, executed the basics brilliantly, and built such unrelenting pressure on the opposition that the All Blacks and Wallabies were beaten into submission.
The Springbok backline did not utilise running rugby to any great extent, instead building pressure by using it's pinpoint kickers, backed with a great kick chase. It's a game plan the Springbok players want, love, and are good at.
What irks me most is the reaction of the Aussies and Kiwis. Their refusal to acknowledge how good and how dominant the Springboks were is simply bad sportsmanship.
In crediting the Springboks, there is always the "but" factor. The Springboks won but..., the Springboks are good but..., the Springboks deserve their victory but...
Leading the list is the notable Spiro Zavos, who, in his article on Rugby Heaven, has said that the Boks profited from British refs. To criticise the performance of the ref who he has said was one-sided, is simply a refusal to acknowledge the better side won.
To compare us to the 2003 World Cup-winning English side, is meant to be a dig at this Springbok side; however, I think it shows his arrogance to acknowledge the performance of what was a very good side that deserved a World title.
He then goes on to say: "The Springboks are playing terrific rugby football, rather than rugby."
"The rugby football game is based on forward power, good structured play with strong set pieces, good restarts and a consistent kicking game with points accumulated, in the main, through penalty goals, drop goals and the occasional try. The rugby game, on the other hand, tends to see the set pieces as a means to the end of running the ball where possible, and scoring tries rather than penalties as the main way to score points.
"This is the game Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Nations have generally espoused, and the style the lost and lamented ELVs encouraged," wrote Zavos.
These are the same ELVs that everyone said encouraged greater kicking and must be done away with at the end of this year's Super 14.
I didn't realise they were playing two different games. I thought the objective was to play within the laws of the game and try to score more points than the opposition.
Maybe the Wallabies should get a bonus point for scoring two tries to one. Then because they won the second half, they should get another bonus point. And because the Springboks played negative rugby, maybe they should be penalised for that.
In fact why not give the Wallabies the full four points because the Springboks were so boring!
I have always loved test match rugby because it is hard, physical, and uncompromising. If the Aussies don't like it maybe they should go play Aussie Rules or something less physical.
I've also found the Aussie and Kiwi commentary teams to be constantly whining. If not the refs then it is the negative Springbok tactics. All I can say to that is we weren't the side being constantly penalised at the breakdown.
That's negative. It stifles the momentum of the Springboks and if they didn't infringe, maybe the Springboks would score more tries.
I have to say I found Phil Kearns and Greg Martin's comments on the last game in Cape Town to be embarrassing to themselves. Blaming the administrators and laws of the game for the reason why the Springboks were kicking a lot, which was boring.
All I can say guys, if your team is winning it's wonderful to watch!
And what about Matt Giteau's blatant attempt to knock Fourie du Preez off the planet with his elbow? And then no citing from the New Zealand citing commissioner?
Give me a break.
If that was Bakkies Botha or a Springbok executing that tackle, he'd have been suspended for at least four weeks. The Super 14 showed how different the standards are for the New Zealanders and Australians, compared to the South Africans.
Meanwhile, the Springboks are reprimanded and SARU have to face a disciplinary hearing from the IRB for standing up to the injustices it has to deal with.
I am not sure where this hatred and disrespect for the South Africans comes from. I suspect it comes from the political beliefs that alienated South Africa from the rest of the world during the Apartheid era. This was shown when the New Zealand and Australian referees leaked an email in the late 1990s stating they were "out to get the South Africans".
Whatever the case, the Springboks and South Africa will never be shown the same respect as any other international side, which just makes every victory even sweeter for the Boks.
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