Springboks: Our Most Respected Opponent
I would grow up with rugby accounts of the past, including many names reading like a foreign film and all subtitled.
Father would recount these fables of rugby battle that had all the essence in the intrigue of the big screen. All would include the hero and any number of villains, be it a player or one of their referees. Their. They were our rugby enemy. When we breathed about rugby being a war, it would kindle reminders akin to a Johan le Roux. He like Mike... Tyson.
The Springboks arrive in New Zealand to take on the All Blacks in our first encounter in this new Investec Rugby Championship, wearing the same colours that have signalled the epic in any rugby contest, but with their soul under attack. They arrive on the back of two very disappointing results. Fortune would favour their brave in Mendoza versus Los Pumas. But, the following week, the kissing of the cousin would be more minor after the conflict with the convict. When you're beaten by a Wallaby prop, you know that something other than the scrum has gone very wrong.
Phat Forrest Gump. He didn't stop. Try.
These results have not gone to plan for a nation that was breathing new life under Heyneke Meyer. He was going to return some of the old that many believed had been lost. He had proven himself at the lower level, with this rugby nation united in hope, this was a new day. Today, the frustration on the field is now only exceeded by a general sense in South Africa that the old whine is not getting better with age, and Meyer must do something; quick.
There is genuine discouragement that, in their verbiage, they are about to get a "snotklap" from the Blacks; reads rather apparent, even in the English.
Our New Zealand personality is generally more prone to talk about our personal expectations in much more understated terms; as if the talk makes us invisible to what we all have seen and perceive. The All Blacks should win in Dunedin. They should win well. This is a Springbok unit against a wall. The conditions are ideal for our style. The combinations that were fresh against Los Pumas have now had time to form, with the flourish at the end of that 80 enabled to continue on this coming Saturday night.
If only sport was played on this paper.
The words of Lord Ted are noteworthy in this Bokke context.
He would comment about the player’s perception of their toughest opponent in his time in charge of the All Blacks as landing on Australia. He would justify this perception on the proximity and familiarity of that Western Island. On the other hand, Henry would affirm that it was in fact, the Springboks. The vision begun with Mandela's spear in our side in 95 has continued to provide a unifying view for a nation looking forward with hope, and they would play like this. This does not even bring in the refrains from my Father’s generation.
As you know, this is a piece on the Official All Blacks fan club, but it is calling out for this vision to return for our rugby enemies. There is nothing sweeter than “snotklapping” you when you come strong and early; challenging our manhood; making the rugby in the last 20, so much sweeter, when the victory is only finally won.
If I am honest, the sense today is that this may only arrive near Soweto, where such resistance will surely rise. Prove us wrong. This is the way it has historically been and we hope will continue.
Time to Spring a surprise, Boks.
This is the All Blacks final home Test in 2012. This period, less than 12 months since World Champion status was gained, and we must say, Goodbye. The rugby will play on, however.
There is so much to play for and to win. You know we will be, BackingBlack. Saturday night. 7:35pm. Dunedin. Inside the Tupperware Dome.
Please make this one to remember, All Blacks nation.
Home really remains where this rugby lives.
What Say You?
Until Next Time