The Boks need to play....Rich finally gets it

Forum » Rugby » The Boks need to play....Rich finally gets it

Mar 17, 2021, 19:56

I have tried to make this point, now Rich finally gets it, even if some on this Board still think we can ‘protect the brand’ by not playing:

Springboks © Gallo Images

That old cliche about successful rugby being the product of learning from mistakes and then applying those lessons has been true of this year’s Six Nations and sent out a warning that the Springboks can’t afford to be out of action for much longer. 

The Rugby World Cup champions haven’t played since they won the 2019 final at Yokohama Stadium in Japan, a period now of nearly 17 months. Their next scheduled fixtures are the three to be played against the British and Irish Lions in South Africa in mid-year. The warm-up fixtures that have been speculated on in the media haven’t been finalised.

The chances are becoming stronger that the Lions series will be played in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with four tests mooted instead of three. If that comes to pass it won’t be a popular decision as it’s hard to find anyone in rugby, regardless of where they come from, who disagrees with the comments made by former British and Irish Lions captain Willie John McBride a few weeks ago: A Lions tour is not a Lions tour if it doesn’t happen in South Africa.

But there are financial considerations that these days all too often override traditions and, to put it bluntly, what rugby people really want - for a start most rugby people appear to be in favour of the reinstatement of the old long international tours but that won’t happen - and if it is a case of needing the Lions tour to happen in the UK for SA Rugby to survive, then it’s hard to argue.


What is obvious from watching the Six Nations is not only that the Lions, because they have been playing international rugby during a year when the Springboks have been inactive, will start the series as overwhelming favourites regardless of where the series is played, but that the other nations are stealing a march on them when it comes to the build-up to World Cup 2023.

And the team that provides the best reference to why that is must be 2019 runners up, England. Up until this past weekend’s game against France, it appeared that Eddie Jones’ experience of losing the World Cup final to Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks had prompted him to become more conservative.

The perception was that the Boks won the Holy Grail of rugby by playing safety first rugby, and for a long time last year, before the suspension of play due to the coronavirus, it appeared it wasn’t just England who were trying to copy what they thought was the Bok template. 

Even the New Zealand teams in Super Rugby, both in the initial phase of the competition that was abbreviated and in their own internal competition after rugby returned, appeared to be working on prioritising the areas that it was felt were the Bok strengths in Japan.

England though was the most obvious example just because they took it to such an extreme. When they played the Autumn Cup last November, England had become the “boring, boring England” that they were back in the early 1990s. Forgotten was the fact that they reached the World Cup final because of a performance against New Zealand in the semi-final that was pretty total and all-encompassing in the way it was put together.


They remained “boring, boring England” when they headed into the current Six Nations at the start of February, but then came the wake-up call - and it came quickly. Scotland, under Gregor Townsend, remain an inventive and adventurous team and it probably just isn’t in that nation’s rugby DNA to go the conservative route.

It wasn’t by much on the scoreboard in the end, but the more adventurous Scots were by far the better team as they opened their Six Nations campaign with a win at Twickenham that broke a long drought when it comes to away wins for them against England.

Defeat to Wales followed, admittedly in a game where some rather deplorable TMO/refereeing decisions were contributing factors, and suddenly England were up against the wall and written off. France, although they hadn’t won in London in almost two decades, arrived for this past weekend’s game as favourites. 

They were the antithesis of England in terms of their allround game in the early phases of competition, and the expectation ahead of Twickenham and ‘Le Crunch’ was that it would be France who’d do all the playing.

It looked like it was going to go according to expectation when France scored their early try, but for the rest of the first half and into the second England showed they had internalised the lessons and learned from their mistakes. They were a different team when it came to their approach, and the commentators remarked that England were playing like France had been previously.

There were other aspects where England had adjusted, not just in playing style. The meticulous Jones had addressed the problem of the England discipline, and the slew of penalties conceded against Wales, by calling in world rated English referee Wayne Barnes to help during the fortnight building up the French game.

It worked, for although England did concede a few penalties in the second half, their discipline for most of the first 50 minutes had become exemplary. And their captain Owen Farrell had cleaned up his act too when it came to communicating with the referee, something that Jones had also highlighted after the Wales game.

The upshot was that while France still showed enough to suggest the smart money should be on them to be strong challengers for the World Cup when it is hosted on their soil in 2023, England were a transformed team and scored a deserved win. They’d learned and internalised lessons and evolved in a way that you can only do by playing.

That is something the Boks are missing out on as we go into the second year of the four year World Cup cycle building up to France 2023. While it is true that analysis is such a crucial part of the modern game, and as the games of the various teams have evolved so it would have been picked up by SA national director of rugby Erasmus and Bok coach Jacques Nienaber, there is nothing to beat the experience of making the mistakes yourself and then learning from them.

The more the other nations play and the South Africans don’t the bigger the gap there may be that will have to be made up in the build-up to the defence of the trophy won in such thrilling fashion nearly a year and a half ago.

Mar 17, 2021, 20:44

Well yes he is talking about playing now. He is not saying we should have played in the RC is he?

Mar 17, 2021, 22:58

What he is saying is a team that isn’t playing is damaging it’s ability to compete. There is no magic date for that......and not playing in the RC is going to cost us. It was such an old style, risk avoidance stance, part of our history 1960 when we actually proposed the Boks vs BaaBaas become a festival match . That way our unbeaten record was protected.. the BaaBaas declined, but we had lost the psychological edge. And promptly lost our unbeaten record.

Get out there and compete, don’t hunker down at home and imagine you are protecting something.

Mar 17, 2021, 23:08

Exactly my point in the other thread. But then, Rassie has his fall guy in place. 

Mar 17, 2021, 23:12

You don’t play test rugby when your players have not played any rugby for months

This is more the case when you are number 1

Mar 17, 2021, 23:13

You are absolutely right....that way he can immerse himself in victory and distance himself from failure. Of course that assumes the Boks ever play another game in the Erasmus era.

Mar 17, 2021, 23:20

SA rugby was spot on

Your hero Jake White seconded that

Mar 18, 2021, 02:17

We all know that Rassie would have been down the following year. It was inevitable. His archaic simple skop n pop gameplan could never work for more than a few key games. The only way to retain the ranking was to hide. It's hilarious watching the sugar puffs defend the cowardice. Even more hilarious they cannot see that we are losing the arms race. 

Mar 18, 2021, 02:59

Winning a few games works for the world cup, but not to go from 7th to 1st in the world rankings which takes time, and lots of games. 

Mar 18, 2021, 03:22

The Boks were 5th after the 2019 season. We were 5th after briefly going 4th heading into the WC. Those increased ranking points in the WC counted for a lot. We ended 2018 with an inferior record to 2017, for some added perspective. 

Mar 18, 2021, 04:20

Boks remain a lowly 7th on World Rugby rankings | Sport › sport › rugby › rugbychampionship
10 Sept 2018 — Boks remain a lowly 7th on World Rugby rankings ... Cape Town - The Springboks remain a lowly seventh on the official World Rugby rankings.

Rassies first year had losses, but he experimented with lots of players and combinations. 

Mar 18, 2021, 07:53

This item remains a joke and one in bad taste as well.   The rugby deadheads Mozart and the Kindergarten Imbecile use a  decision by the SA Rugby Board not to participate in the RC  to  attack Erasmus personally for the fact that the Springboks did not participate in the 2020 Three Nations tournament  in 2020 - fat is in the absence of SA there was NO RC anyway,

They do not know what impact the SA Lockdown - that was one of the strictest in the world had on SA Sport and also how SA virtually banned entry into SA  by SA citizens without a 14 day isolation requirement,   So if any Springboks play rugby in Europe or Japan they could not attend a training camp in SA.

But one can expect that from two members who have only one object in mind - namely to malign  Erasmus and certain key players in the Springbok squad  based on their standard BS.   Rugby idiots they are and rugby idiots they will remain to be.              

Mar 18, 2021, 15:53

This is what other nations did just to have the privilege of competing:


If you thought Argentina’s win over the All Blacks on Saturday was thanks to a stroke of luck, you’d be very wrong.

The Pumas claimed a 25-15 win over the All Blacks on Saturday in Sydney – their first-ever victory over New Zealand.

A video posted to Los Pumas’ Twitter page has now shed light on some of the extreme sacrifices and challenges players faced while preparing for the match.

The video showed clips of how player’s trained individually during lockdown and as a team while in isolation

“I trained over a hundred days in my apartment,” Pumas hooker Julian Montoya said.

“I practised passes in the garage at home,” said Tomas Cubelli

Footage of Santiago Socino showed how he simulated lineout throws with his dad on the roof of their house, while Nicolas Sanchez said he ran 21m in his lounge.

Other players mentioned how they hadn’t seen their family since August, and have had to undergo 16 covid tests since training began.

The video has already racked up more than 700,000 views and 12,300 likes.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks passion has been questioned after captain Sam Cane said it was evident throughout the defeat that the Pumas wanted victory more.

Head coach Ian Foster had similar comments.

“The first 40 minutes they played with all the passion that we were expecting but they were also accurate. We were ill-disciplined again and that’s disappointing,” he said after the game.

“For a country that hasn’t played all year, they had a big cause to play for and you could see that. They turned a perceived disadvantage into an advantage, they were rested.”


They turned a perceived disadvantage into an advantage....there you have the spirit of competition, so lacking in Erasmus.

Mar 18, 2021, 20:05

Ha ha ha Erasmus lacking the spirit of competition taking us from 7 to 1, wining a RC and WC in the process

What Rassie is, is a very wise man not stupid enough to undo all that hard work achieving the above only to piss it all away taking a completely underprepared side away to play against well prepared sides like NZ and Oz

Geez I’d hate to leave my affairs in your hands Moz

While I’m not a Jake fan at least he has the sense to see it as Rassie and SA rugby did.

What do you say about Jake supporting the stance?

Mar 18, 2021, 23:18

So, no game time against other nations, but we are in a good place to just carry in as the supposed best team in the world? The moment when reality hits is going to be hilarious here. I can't wait to hear the excuses. 

Mar 19, 2021, 10:24

I cant wait for the return of the Springbok rugby either to see how much more they will embarrass the site idiots and especially the Kindergarten  Imbecile.  

Mar 20, 2021, 01:12

I can’t wait.....that’s what I said before the Erasmus chicken run.

Mar 20, 2021, 13:19

Moz it’s was not Rassie’s call for the umpteenth time

It was SA Rugby’s call and the right call at that

Just ask your mate Jake

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