These British and Irish Lions nogal have a blind style, not being gracious in defeat.
What does it matter whether Clive Woodward thinks they should have won the series against the Springboks?
Who cares? Facts are facts and the fact is that the Boks beat the Lions again, and they did so with a “boring” style on top of it.
Serve that with your bangers and mash.
But I’m not about to give the haters airtime in this column, instead I’m going to predict the ultimate welakapela from the Boks when they play Argentina on Saturday.
Coach Jacques Nienaber’s team selection seems to suggest that South Africa will throw caution to the wind and that we won’t see an aerial contest where the ultimate aim is to force the opponents into making mistakes.
Firstly, the Argies won’t copy the Boks like the Lions did –they will run the ball back and will do so dangerously. Therefore, that plan might backfire. Horses for courses.
Secondly, the personnel selected for the match suggests that the Springboks will take the field at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to PLAY rugby – to jigga met die ball.
With Damian Willemse, Aphelele Fassi, Sbu Nkosi and Elton Jantjies in their backline, the Springboks have a team of players who can provide that moment of magic in an instant.
I can only imagine that the instruction to these guys will be to play the situation and if that means going outside of the set structures at times, then so be it.
The danger, of course, is that they will leak tries also. So while it might not be the same “finals rugby” as against the Lions, it is undoubtedly the rugby these Brits wanted to see from the Boks.
These predicted alterations to the game plan also hints at something bigger at play – the future.
I must admit that while I was the first one to say the Springboks must include Morne Steyn for the Lions series, I am quite surprised that he is in the squad for the Rugby Championship.
I would have thought that the message would have been clear to the 37-year-old: “Skop die ouens se wind uit and retire a hero.”
Now I understand Covid protocols make it difficult to chop and change, but surely any young flyhalf – let’s say Curwin Bosch – would have benefited more from playing in this tournament than Steyn.
When he kicked that winning penalty against the Lions, it should have been the last time he touched the ball in the Green and Gold.
Anyway, he’ll be on the bench again on Saturday and he’ll probably not disappoint.
But with the World Cup in France being two years away, building depth that will still be around and peaking at that time should be the ultimate goal of the Boks after they beat the Lions.
The mindshift in the team must change now from permie trying to convince people that they are the best in the world to building up to that height again.
Who cares if that means losing the next couple of Rugby Championship tournaments?
That’s why I’ll be watching Saturday’s match against Argentina as closely as I watched the Lions series, but with a different set of eyes.
We know our A-game can only be matched by the All Blacks in world rugby, but where does our Plan B rank?
How good are we when we decide to turn up the heat?
Because it’s not something that has been practised in recent years, I don’t think we rank very highly. And the only way to improve that, is to practise and practise in-game.
No better time to do that than against Argentina, post-Lions on Saturday. Is that champagne corks I hear popping?