Whether its the likely extension of Meyer’s contract or the miraculous finding of another quality coach to steer the Springboks it is high time this one dimensional, tunnel-vision version of rugby ends.
The time is now. South Africa may have made the semi-finals but that is nothing to be proud of, for four years the tone has been the side have been growing and constantly coming second best is not good enough. Has the Springbok lost its desire to be the best? One win in 8 against the All Blacks means something has to change. The players are there and the mind-set is not.
‘Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.’ Time to be bold and rebuild the Springbok squad, be confident in an innovative, unpredictable game plan. To be able to not just look to dominate the collision but to also be able to offer variation on attack.
One of the other reasons the All Blacks managed to have a 97% tackles success was because they knew what was coming. Schalk Burger option, Damian hitting it up and a lack of adventure. It’s a semi-final and truth be told it was meant to be safe and conservative but South Africa took it too far. Instead opting to take points at every opportunity and when they needed a try in the 79th minute, deep in All Black territory they could not.
Why? They had been shelled out in the first 78 minutes, what magic could they conjure up? They tried to play it out but kept getting hit backwards and what started out as a disastrous World Cup campaign ended with bravery and failure. For 1 minute and 50 seconds my eyes could not believe what they saw. The intent to give the ball air; and boy did it trouble the All Blacks but then sanity or for the fans, insanity prevailed. A return to the Springbok shells in the fear to be caught out or to be burned out by the sixtieth minute mark.
It would be wise should the Springboks take a page from the Lions, for years we took a page out of Pretoria and it worked. It is time we reverted to the Lions way and learn a few things. Fitness will be a key aspect and for South Africa they need to take this aspect serious. The failure to close out games comes down to fitness and mental attitude. For the last few years you can see the work Gilbert Enoka has done for the All Blacks.
For those who do not know, he is the mental skills coach for the Black machine. Their ability to control their emotions and soak in the pressure is second to none and this means they win the close ones more that the rest. Argentina where known as the negative side but it seems the Boks have hijacked the tag. The lack of tactical kicking accuracy and inability to engage x-factor players is non-existent when it counts. We have been in the ‘semi-final / final’ scenario before and we have lost to New Zealand. When in the bid to win the Rugby Championship and now.
Time to move on from this disappointment and look forward to Springbok rugby dominating again!! A dark four years, more nearly victories against New Zealand, losses to Japan and Argentina and a return to the drawing board for the Springboks. Who knows adding an Emerging Springboks could be a better way for the South Africa to bring more Test options through in the team’s systems. The talent is there, it just need a lot of tweaking!Change is needed