Prominent northern hemisphere critic Jeremy Guscott has joined the chorus of naysayers about the currently labouring Springboks.
In his weekly column on the BBC Sport website (www.bbc.co.uk) the former England and British and Irish Lions centre, who kicked a famous match- and series-swinging dropped goal on the Lions’ 1997 tour of South Africa, said he felt the maiden Castle Rugby Championship had been “indifferent” thus far.
“I’ve loved watching the brilliance of (runaway leaders) the All Blacks; they are so much better than the rest but even they look a tad jaded.
“The Wallabies and Springboks have been dreadful by their own standards … the Boks have nothing more than kicking to offer which is embarrassing when Bryan Habana is on fire.”
PRAISE FOR PUMAS
But he did reserve special praise for tournament debutants Argentina.
“The Pumas have been nothing short of brilliant … first game apart (beaten 27-6 by South Africa in Cape Town) they have been extremely competitive and could have beaten both the Boks (in Mendoza) and Wallabies already.
“Without doubt (in their remaining home fixtures) they will give NZ a good run in a couple of weeks and they have a really good chance against the Aussies a week later.”
Turning to the traditional end-of-year tours by the southern hemisphere sides, Guscott said that if Australia and South Africa arrive “in their current form” most of the home unions would fancy their chances of beating them.
“The All Blacks are in a different league right now and I wouldn’t give any home union a sniff (against them) … maybe Wales if they had the game of their lives.”