Some of the Springboks who served against the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday are apparently close to the end of their shelf life on the playing field.
This is the opinion of Hamish Bidwell, a New Zealand rugby journalist, after the South Africans dished up a pointless performance in the first 20 minutes of the showdown.
“This is an old Springbok team. A group of World Cup winners who are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning,” he wrote in one of his columns.
According to Bidwell, the South Africans were not exactly a benchmark for the All Blacks to measure themselves against.
“It will benefit the Springboks if they instead select Malcolm Marx and the younger players – who taught Australia a lesson in the opening round – in their starting team. Look, I don’t want to take the shine off the All Blacks performance, but you can’t say they are now the favorite to lift the Webb Ellis trophy after beating this Bok team.”
Many local rugby fans will agree: With Marx in the starting team, the route to possible World Cup glory looks much shorter than the one with him on the substitutes’ bench.
The “Bomb Squad” cannot be expected to pull the chestnuts out of the fire on a regular basis; the starting fifteen must also be able to leave their mark on the game.
Congratulations to the All Blacks they were unstoppable in those 1st 20min. We certainly made some mistakes as a coaching team! Thanks for all the support in good and bad times we really appreciate it!????????
— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) July 15, 2023
However, Swys de Bruin believes that the Goats will not simply step into a similar pitfall again.
The former Lions coach spoke on SuperSport’s Final Whistleprogram said that the South Africans will probably not come up with such a listless performance again.
“It was one bluff after another; that’s not how we do things. Scrums, rolling movements and pressure we apply with kicks is in our DNA,” he said.
The All Blacks overpowered the visitors especially in the air attacks and De Bruin believes that the Boks’ sporadic and scattered defensive lines sometimes remind him of the mistakes that a primary school team would make.
“You won’t – or if ever – see a Springbok team chasing a kick like that again.”
World Rugby Rankings (as on 17 July 2023):
- Ireland: 91.82 points
- France: 90.47 points
- New Zealand: 90.32 points
- South Africa: 88.34 points
- Scotland: 82.77 points
- England: 82.12 points
- Argentina: 81.49 points
- Australia: 80.32 points
- Wales: 78.08 points
- Japan: 77.39 points.