There were three successive hidings at the hands of the All Blacks, including a 57-0 humiliation and a 57-15 whipping
Even if the Springboks do not beat England in tomorrow’s highly anticipated World Cup final, the Boks will return home proudly as winners.
Sometimes you need to look back to realise just how far you have come. So let’s take a moment to reflect on just where the Springboks were on the rugby landscape in 2016 and 2017.
There were three successive hidings at the hands of the All Blacks, including a 57-0 humiliation and a 57-15 whipping.
The Boks lost to Argentina at home for the first time. They suffered a record 38-3 defeat to Ireland. In short, the Boks were in a mess.
Fast forward to the 2019 World Cup, and the Boks are dining at the top table of the game again. The respect for the green and gold jersey is back in a big way.
Let’s all raise our hats, then, to the dynamic duo of coach Rassie Erasmus and captain Siya Kolisi for their roles in the Bok revival – Erasmus for his strategic planning and consistent selections, and Kolisi for his inspiring leadership and fierce heart.
Let’s make no bones about it: England are going to be tough to beat.
They dismantled the All Blacks in breathtaking style last week, and their first try should be copied and pasted into coaching manuals under the heading “This is how you score a try in rugby football”.
And England coach Eddie Jones, who masterminded Japan’s famous (or is that infamous) win over the Boks in 2015, is one of the most creative thinkers in the game.
But the Boks will be primed and ready.
Yes, there has been some criticism of their conservative play, but this Bok pack is one of the most fearsome of recent times.
Remember too, that being billed as underdogs will suit the Boks just fine.
It transfers a lot of the mental pressure to England. But as we said, win or lose tomorrow, we can all wear our Bok jerseys with pride again.