Anyone who tells you South Africa’s Springboks WILL win the Rugby World Cup again this year is wrong.
It’s a sweeping statement I know. There is not a Bok supporter bigger than me.
I am proudly South African and I’ll throw my weight firmly behind the World Champions. But the Boks don’t have what it takes to repeat their heroics of France 2007.
Now, before my fellow countrymen jump up and down and accuse me of being unpatriotic, and before the Springbok supporters club of South Africa revoke my ambassadorship, indulge me just for a minute. Let me explain my position.
South Africa have a tattered record in New Zealand. And we don’t have to look further than Carisbrook Stadium in Dunedin (The House of Pain – cue dramatic music), where scrumhalf Ricky January helped the Boks to their first win there in something like 813 years.
I am exaggerating of course, but it feels like it could have been that long.
The Boks don’t like winning in New Zealand. It is that simple! A quick surf on the net reveals SA have won only nine out of 39 clashes on All Blacks turf. Wikipedia didn’t get it wrong, did they?
And here’s something else. The Springboks don’t like staying in NZ either.
Two years ago Bok coach Peter de Villiers delayed a trip to Hamilton, New Zealand during the Tri-Nations, describing the place as boring and saying there was nothing to do there.
This upset Hamilton’s mayor Bob Simcock, who lashed out at P. Divvy saying there were plenty of watering holes, but that the Boks should wait for that until after they’d played New Zealand.
Nine wins out of 39 matches?
Yeah. I know what you’re thinking. History counts for nothing at a World Cup, and matches are played on the pitch – not on paper. I suppose you’re right. But those stats still have me worried. Very worried.
World Cup fever
South Africa’s sports brains trust are a clever bunch, bottom line. Financial pun intended.
There’s big money to be made off those who consider themselves patriotic and in support of the national sporting cause. SA’s sports bosses have – and very successfully too – got the entire nation to buy into the idea of supporting the national teams ahead of a big tournament by wearing the side’s colours on a Friday.
First there was Bafana Bafana Fridays during the football World Cup.
When South Africa faltered at the first hurdle it was time to shift focus to the SA cricket team, for they too now needed support for their World Cup challenge. Then the concept of Fantastic slash Fabulous Fridays was born. The Proteas choked and Fridays returned to normal in SA. Wear what you feel like.
“But wait a minute. Don’t the South African rugby team have a World Cup coming up?”, someone wondered. “Indeed they do,” came the reply.
Ladies and gentlemen – allow us to introduce you to the newest kind of Friday in South Africa. It is Bok Fridays. Go out and buy your kit now and support our boys in green and gold.
Springbok rugby jerseys will fly off the shelves and when the Boks crash out of the competition in New Zealand, there’ll again be the need to introduce another kind of sport to support on a Friday.
Netball or snooker Fridays, anyone?
Look, the script for this year’s World Cup has already been written.
New Zealand, who have been deprived of World Cup glory for the longest time, are destined to lift the trophy on home soil.
I don’t mind eating humble pie if I have to. Believe me, I’d love nothing more than for South Africa to make history and become the first rugby nation to successfully defend their world title. But this World Cup is New Zealand’s for the taking.
Either way – all will be revealed in Auckland on October 23, folks.