It was 1995 and SA was hosting the 1995 World Cup. No one gave them a chance and who could blame them given the type of rugby the boks played and that they weren't able to dominate rugby like they use to. Wins were very scarce to come by.
We all know the rest, but one thing that stood out was listening to Joel Stransky sharing a conversation he had with Christie. He asked will it be skill that would enable them to win the World Cup, but the response was fitness. They would train on golf course and they just kept doing fitness drills.
Fast forward to 2023, almost every single professional player today could easily compete with the 95 players and probably beat them if a game were to happen today. The game has moved on and players are in supreme condition. However, we saw what happens when players are out for a while and how hard it is to adjust to the pace of the game. Elton Jantjies and a mare, Duane Vermeulen got brought in after being out for 3 months, it all had a massive impact on the team if one player was injured. We saw Bongi Struggle and the infamous bomb squad falling short when they had come on in the 30th min to remove the quota players as they couldn't hold the line for long enough.
I have no idea how we will be fit enough for this World Cup. Will we select players out of form but there on reputation.
Just looking at the remaining season and where most of our players are based. Those in Europe and the URC will struggle to get any decent match rest. They may be rested for a game or two, but this is not the case for Willemse.
Don't forget all the travelling. I think the boks are now 9 trips in so far in the last 12 months.
The only gap I can see for the boks to rest or have some form of training camp is during the 6 nations where there will only be derbies, but it dilutes the game at home as the fans won't be able to watch the boks play.
It is a mess and I don't know how they are going to prepare. Given the last Club game is in June, 6 test matches and then the World Cup.
Our only saving grace is the fact that we have about 5 to 6 boks playing in Japan that will be well rested and ready to go but may need match sharpness as they finish their season in May.
How would you prepare the boks, when should boks be kept out of games, what happens when teams reach the play-offs and final?