We have learned from past three years not to read to much into the June Internationals. The same goes for November Internationals when we go up north.
The teams coming down in June are mostly understrength squads with some exceptions.
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus record reads 2 wins and 2 losses which gives his Bok team only a 50% record.
The reality is the only real measurement comes when the Springboks come up against New Zealand and Australia in the Rugby Championship.
In 2016 Coetzee Springboks beat Ireland 2-1 in June but in the Championship we ended up third behind Australia with only two wins.
In 2017 Coetzee Springboks beat France 3-0 in June but again only manage third spot on the log with two wins and two draws.
This year Rassie Boks manage to beat England 2-1 in June….
Erasmus showed his hand in naming his squad for the Championship on Monday which raised a few questions.
Forwards – Cyle Brink, Jean-Luc du Preez, Thomas du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi (c), Francois Louw, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Akker van der Merwe, Marco van Staden, Warren Whiteley.
Backs – Lukhanyo Am, Ross Cronjé, Faf de Klerk, Aphiwe Dyantyi, André Esterhuizen, Elton Janjies, Jesse Kriel, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Embrose Papier, Handré Pollard Ivan van Zyl, Damian Willemse.
This is what Erasmus had to say after naming his Championship squad…
Like it or not but as Springbok coach Erasmus has a few KPI’s that he need to achieve.
- Most important, winning. What his KPI target is on this only SARU knows but one can expect it to be 80% and above
- Transformation, there is no hiding away from the target that was set between Government and SARU.
- Building a squad that can win the World Cup next year in Japan.
Rassie and his team have 10 test for this year to improve on the 50% they have at the moment. Playing the All Blacks, Aussies and Argentina twice home and away then go up north to face England, France, Scotland and Wales.
This means to have a a win % above 80% at the end of the year the Springboks can only loose twice in the remaining 10 test matches.
That is a big ask if you look at playing All Blacks twice, an improved Aussie side twice with England, France, Scotland and Wales away.
The second KPI actually goes hand in hand with the first. Transformation of the team to reach 50% by World Cup is no easy task to achieve in less than two year.
Coetzee did not help Erasmus much in giving players of colour the opportunity at international level even though his record was not good.
By end of this year Erasmus must have a 48% according to SARU agreement with Government.
In the squad he announce on Monday he has 13 player of colour in the squad of 35. The transformation % is measured against the 23 match-day squad.
That is a damn thin line to walk for Erasmus to get the win % up and get to his transformation target at the end of November.
Let us not fool ourselves on the third KPI, we do not currently have a squad which we can really believe will win the World Cup next year.
With the quality of the All Blacks, Ireland and England we at best are 4 or 5 seeded.
This brings us to this Rugby Championship. The All Blacks looks yet again that they are the best of the rest by a long way.
So what will convince us that Erasmus is making progress when the fat lady sings at the end of this tournament?
If one take in consideration the whole idea is that we are giving us a chance to win the World Cup next year we need to have a high expectation from Erasmus and his Boks.
It should be non negotiable that the Springboks beat both the Aussies and Argentina home and away.
They also need to get much closer to the All Blacks than we have shown in the past. I struggled to see the Springboks at this stage beat the All Blacks in New Zealand.
I suppose progress then will be to give ourselves a chance against the All Blacks in New Zealand.
At home we need to get a win pass them. That will give us a solid second place and even give us a chance of winning the Championship which will be a massive step in the right direction for the Springboks.
This is maybe setting the bar high but we have seen enough mediocre performances from the Springboks and if they really want to proof to us that they are on the right track we should expect nothing less.
If Erasmus Boks can achieve that in the Championship we should then expect a four out of four in November, and again this is because of the KPI’s that we need to achieve.
This makes this year such an important year for Springbok rugby and we will have to wait and see if beating England in June was just another stroke of luck or if Erasmus are really on the right path.
What is your expectations for this years Rugby Championship?
Saturday 18 August
Saturday 25 August
Saturday 8 September
Saturday 15 September
|07:35||New Zealand||v.||South Africa|
Saturday 29 September
Saturday 6 October
|15:05||South Africa||v.||New Zealand|