The future of Springbok rugby is sound and in safe hands all the way.
Although there will be quite a few pitfalls over the next four years, it is not wishful thinking to believe that Rassie Erasmus’ Boks can also win the next World Cup tournament in Australia.
It’s not arrogance, but plain facts.
The Boks, who held up the Webb Ellis trophy in France for the fourth time this year, were the oldest team (average age of 30.4 years per player) at the tournament.
It was a very good mix of youth and experience, with tough guys laying the foundation and youngsters rounding it off, with the testimonials being thriller victories over France, England and the All Blacks.
The Boks’ biggest opponents, Ireland (29.4), England (28.4), the All Blacks (28.3) and France (27.4), were all younger and can mess things up going forward.
In addition, the All Blacks can return to the glory days of the past under their new coach, Scott Robertson.
In addition, the Bokke’s head coach, Jacques Nienaber, threw his weight in at the Irish club Leinster and one of the hardest working assistant coaches, the Irishman Felix Jones, chose course for England.
Several players such as Duane Vermeulen (37) have already retired, with Deon Fourie (36), Trevor Nyakane (34), Willie le Roux (34), Cobus Reinach (33), Vincent Koch (33), Bongi Mbonambi (32), Faf de Klerk (32), Franco Mostert (32), Eben Etzebeth (31), Siya Kolisi (31), Pieter-Steph du Toit (31) and Damian de Allende (31) who apparently will not make it to Australia .
But today’s players’ shelf life is getting longer and longer with the right management, rotation, rehabilitation and mandatory rest.
The pantry of bubbling young talent that the Green and Gold can carry for years to come is also overflowing.
Which other countries, besides France, can already with Goats like Canan Moodie (21), Jaden Hendrikse (23), Damian Willemse (25), Grant Williams (27), Kurt-Lee Arendse (27), Jasper Wiese (27), Ox Nche (28), RG Snyman (28), Malcolm Marx (29), Handré Pollard (29), Cheslin Kolbe (29) and André Esterhuizen (29) boast?
What about other local youngsters such as Evan Roos, Cameron Hanekom, George Cronjé, Muller Uys, Emile van Heerden, Andre-Hugo Venter, Ntuthuko Mchunu, the Kriel brothers, Aphelele Fassi, Hencus van Wyk and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu?
South African rugby has the great advantage that players can still be eligible for the Springbok team even if they do not play in South Africa.
Just look at how some of the Boks like Cheslin Kolbe, De Allende, Esterhuizen, Wiese and Koch have developed overseas.
Also consider how the shelf life of Malcolm Marx, Franco Mostert, Willie le Roux and Faf de Klerk has been extended because they play in Japan where the game is very fast and skilful, but not as physical as the United Rugby Championship, European Cup Series and the French Top 14 not.
The train can easily derail, but the future looks very bright.