Special era awaiting Boks?


Baby Boks captain Wiaan Liebenberg, wearing No 6 on his back, lifted the IRB Under-20 World Cup trophy at Newlands on Friday night.


It was a stark reminder of the historic moment when the 1995 Springbok No 6, Francois Pienaar, led the Boks to World Cup triumph.

Following their 22-16 win over New Zealand in the final, the SA Under-20 coach Dawie Theron said that before the match he recalled the only Bok captain to win a World Cup on home soil was Pienaar, and he was tempted to tell the team that it was a good omen that their captain was also wearing number six.

“Before the game I didn’t want to say anything for fear of adding to the expectation,” said Theron.

“There must be something about the No 6, they seem to be the guys that draw the trophy towards them.”

Theron, a former Bok prop, was a highly emotional man after the conquest.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s the best rugby experience of my life and I’ve played for the Springboks in 30 Tests but this is very special.

“Words can’t describe the feeling. One can see what winning this title meant to the guys, especially after that Ireland loss in our first game when they were burdened with the weight of the nation’s expectations on their shoulders.

“Under pressure two things can happen either you scatter apart, or the heat of the moment causes you to gel and you become like a rock and that’s what happened.

“It was a wonderful show of typical SA, New Zealand rivalry, and in the first half all the big hits came from them. Our guys came out in the second half and really stood up to the physical contest and there were big hits coming in from our side.

“It was tremendous to see how the guys responded. I can imagine that if these guys stay together, as well as those who couldn’t play because of injury, there will be a special era of Springbok rugby ahead.

“The crowd must have been over 35 000 [RW: Officially 33,210] and judging by their support one can say Springbok rugby is alive.”

The Cape Town-born and bred flanker Liebenberg savoured the iconic moment by reflecting on the privilege of donning the Springbok jersey.

“It’s just a great thing being part of this jersey,” said Liebenberg.

“There are so many [players] that have worn this jersey before, and this team is proud to be part of that legacy in South African rugby. This team wanted to tell a story by making history and that’s what we did for our country,” said Liebenberg.

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  1. Turning point = getting tid of overrated, lazy Jantjes at 10, after Ireland game, as well as kicking scrumhalves.

  2. I only rate adendorf, kitshoff, Oosthyzen and Goosen from this era for higher honours. Jordaan too small.

    Up until the second half VS england this was a very average Bok team. It was a ‘gees’ win if anything.

  3. Reply to Ollie @ 11:05 am:

    true, but in Ire game and even Italy one it seemed as if our youngsters are like our senior too conservative and structured.

    Its sad to see 19 year olds build pods and kick and chase. The minute Small Smith broke away and decided ‘fok it’, we started playing to our potential.

    Yet i still dont think this is a particularly talented generation. There will be 4 or 5 that play for Boks but thats it.

  4. Reply to The Year of the Cheetah @ 10:14 am:

    “Jordaan too small…”

    For years now we’ve had to listen to you go on about the midget Ebersohn bros and De Jongh and how they would be the next best thing…

    Jordaan has cm’s on them and at least 6kgs and he’s just 20!!!

    Seriously mate… lift your game

  5. Next we going to hear that Jan Serfontein at 97kgs and voted the IRB U20 player of the year (something no other South African has done) is too small and talentless…

    As for any U20 or Junior team players going on to higher accolades… there is always going to be major dilution with non-rugby school players coming through the multiple senior tournaments, injuries, physical development, life-choices etc etc

    Good News for the U20’s is that there are 3 quality big locks (currently playing S15), a 10 (who is already a sick-note), 3 centres, two open-sider’s with potential within that small net of ‘rugby schools’… bad news is that quota’s are still alive and well as witnessed with Booysen!

  6. Reply to The Year of the Cheetah @ 12:14 pm: duh…

    Of course

    Geez it,s not as though it will be the whole side being Boks.

    More likely is a few standouts like Jordaan, Small-Smith, Adendorf and Serfontein will be Boks. Kind of like if you look at the 2003 U21’s… John Smit, Schalk Burger, FDP were the ones and 2004 when it was “just” Habana….

    The suggestion is that in one year we have finally produced a young side that is capable of doing the junior wins thing.

    Next year a new generation will be doing the thing producing new Boks.

    As for Small-Smith changing the game… That is nonsense and you know it. There is no way in modern professional rugby that any player does not do exactly as he is told… otherwise he’d be looking for a new job that has nothing to do with work.

  7. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 12:38 pm:

    lift your game.

    i have never said Ebersohn should be a Bok at 13. Maybe 12 but he is still very small.

    So too De Jong who is too small for a 13, great for 12.

    Aplon whom I love is just too small for international rugby period.

    I dont rate Small-Smith that much but he is big and might come in to do the Jean/Meisie/Frans trick of breaking inside with every backline ball to take contact – as is the Bok way

  8. Reply to DavidS @ 3:12 pm:

    there is a bit too much hype around these players for my liking.

    we all know what happens when we start hyping players.

    they become stormers and disappear…

  9. Reply to The Year of the Cheetah @ 10:01 am:

    “So too De Jong who is too small for a 13, great for 12.”

    McCabe 96kgs, Nonu 108kgs, SBW 106kgs, Jamie Roberts 110kgs, Felipe Contepomi 103kgs…

    JDJ 87kgs… nup I disagree whole-hreatedly… if anything he’s also too small for 12 considering his skill-set…

  10. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 10:58 am:

    Look at the 12 stats. They hardly take contact all game. I am yet too see De Jong miss a vital tackle so he is on par with what we have,

    yet on attack he is much better than JdV and Meisie and the other donkeys.