Bring on the world champions New Zealand. This Bok team is ready.
That’s a line you wouldn’t read anywhere in any newspaper or website today.
Judging by the evidence of the Rugby Championship’s opening weekend, Allister Coetzee can thank the heavens that his date with reality is only on September 17.
That’s when South Africa will cross swords with the All Blacks for the first time since losing 20-18 to Steve Hansen’s men in the World Cup semifinal last year.
The reality is, while the All Blacks have kicked on – evident by their 32-3 half-time scoreline over the Wallabies on Saturday – the Springboks needed a late try to avoid losing to the Jaguares, disguised as Argentina in Nelspruit.
So are we ready to take on the best in the world and how far are we from being there?
The short and simple answer is: we’re not ready.
But we are showing some positive signs that, with two games to go (against the Pumas and the Wallabies), the big game against the world champions could make for one heck of a game.
There is a belief that players somehow transform when they pull on their respective international jerseys.
We’ve often heard coaches saying that he is a different player when he plays for the Springboks – think Bryan Habana.
The veteran did much better on Saturday than what I expected him to do.
Truth is, South Africans REALLY only transform when they face the All Blacks – it’s the ultimate test.
And while it seems like they are worlds apart at the moment, I get the feeling that Coetzee’s team will push the All Blacks hard when they face off next month.
The average score between the two countries is New Zealand 19 South Africa 15.
And if Coetzee’s side wants to come this close to beating New Zealand, they have to fix a number of little things before then.
As for their trip to Argentina this weekend, it could turn out to be an ugly affair if Adriaan Strauss and his teammates don’t find their killer instinct soon.
The Pumas did lift their game from when they were the Jaguares, it had me thinking that maybe they should play in the national kit for next season’s Super Rugby.
But you don’t underestimate any professional team in world rugby, maybe that’s the problem.
And while not underestimating teams, it would be nice if the Boks really start to believe that they are “superior” to their opposition.
Maybe then they will show that ruthlessness with which the All Blacks approach their games.