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Last test at Newlands

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There is no reason for Bok supporters to be short of optimism in terms of the immediate future of the team.

Duane Vermeulen has been excellent for the Springboks against England. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

If Saturday was indeed the last time we saw the Springboks at Newlands, the 25-10 defeat to England on a cold, rainy day was certainly not the best way to end a long and historic record at the famous old ground.

For quite some time, there have been reports that Western Province will be moving to Cape Town Stadium, and the union is reportedly going to discuss the matter again with their clubs this week.

It’s the Rugby World Cup next year, which means a shortened Rugby Championship in 2018, and it is not certain that the Boks will fit in a game at Newlands next year.

Nevertheless, even if the defeat to England turns out to be the last game for the Boks at Newlands, right now there is no reason for Bok supporters to be short of optimism in terms of the immediate future of the team.

Yes, the Springboks lost to Wales in Washington in director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’ first game in charge, but the timing of that match so soon after Super Rugby was very poor, and it was in any case a second-string Bok line-up.

What counts is that the Boks won the series against England 2-1 and, more importantly, no one can deny that there has been a strong feel-good factor surrounding the team, which is certainly a welcome change following a series of terrible results over the past couple of years.

That feel-good factor started with the appointment of the first black Bok captain, Siya Kolisi, and it continued with Erasmus picking seven black Africans in his team for the first Test in Johannesburg (Trevor Nyakane withdrew due to injury at the last minute) and it reached a crescendo with two inspiring fight-backs in both the first and second Tests, led by Kolisi himself.

The Boks also put together a heart-warming blend of attack and defence.

So let’s not get too depressed about the defeat. After all, Eddie Jones and his team were desperate to salvage some pride.

The real sadness would be if it turns out to be the last Bok Test at Newlands.

But who knows, there may still be a chance for the Boks to say a proper, fitting and winning goodbye.