The one good thing about having been drawn in the same pool as New Zealand for the 2019 World Cup is that the defending champions won’t have a chance of eliminating the Springboks before the final of the tournament.
Many fans were wide-eyed when the Springboks were drawn in the same group as the world champions.
But it’s great. Not only will Allister Coetzee’s men get to measure themselves against the best in the business early in the tournament, but if all goes well they will only meet each other again in the final.
If South Africa manage second place in this pool – which they should if they don’t lose to Italy again – they are set for a quarterfinal showdown against the winner of Pool A.
That will most likely be Ireland. If they get past this hurdle, it will probably be Eddie Jones’ England in the semis.
And that’s how Coetzee should plot for the World Cup.
The Bokke didn’t have a good 2016. That’s no secret.
I’m afraid, though, that when France come to town next month the Springboks have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
They are expected to win the series. But defeat for Coetzee and his manne will have a moerse backlash.
And if the top brasse in charge of SA rugby still have plans of axing Coetzee, a defeat will certainly give them that platform.
But if they decide to stick with Coetzee they should do so until the 2019 World Cup.
With Rassie Erasmus having ruled himself out of a return to SA, it’s time that the Springboks settle on their coaching team and create the continuity there first.
The biggest problem within the Saru camp in the foreseeable future is that of Super Rugby participation though.
Now that the Kings have learnt that two South African sides will be axed, they have pulled up their socks big time.
Yes, it makes sense for Saru to bring an end to the Kings’ participation in the tournament, but what they proved by beating the Sharks this past weekend is that they’ve made massive strides this year.
Whether it’s enough to keep them in the competition remains to be seen.
I still believe that despite their recent form, Deon Davids’ men should be one of the teams to go.
And here again, Saru will have to sort out the problem as soon as possible to properly shift their attention to the 2019 World Cup.
So while I believe the draw has actually been kind to Coetzee and his Bokke, it’s now up to Saru to make sure they deal with all the sideshows properly to get the Boks to concentrate only on bringing home the bacon in a few years’ time.