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Boks in ideal position to rule Rugby Championship


It could be a long time before the Springboks have as good a chance of winning the Rugby Championship as they do in 2022.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi (L) and Bongi Mbonambi after beating Wales in the third Test. Photo: Nic Bothma/EPA

Cape Town – It could be a long time before the Springboks have as good a chance of winning the Rugby Championship as they do in 2022.

Considering the draw and the form of the four teams, the Boks really ought to cash in and win a Championship title that will set them up nicely for a charge towards next year’s World Cup.

The Boks start with two home matches against the out-of-sorts All Blacks, they then have a two-match visit to Australia, a country where the South Africans are long overdue some victories, and then they finish with matches against Argentina, one in Buenos Aires and one in Durban.

After the recent northern hemisphere invasion of the south, the All Blacks were soundly beaten by Ireland, Australia looked very iffy in losing 2-1 to England while the Argentina-Scotland series looked lightweight, with the Pumas pipping Scotland 2-1 but hardly looking like the Argentina of old in the process.

The Pumas were the big losers when Super Rugby imploded in that while the South African teams could join the URC, there was nowhere for the Jaguares to go, and their rugby has stagnated.

Mind you, I believe New Zealand and Australia have also suffered after Super Rugby contracted into the Kiwi and Aussie teams plus two Pacific Island teams.

The physicality of the South African and Argentinian teams has been missed and that was reflected in how Ireland bullied the All Blacks and England got on top of the Wallabies.

The Boks had their rollercoaster against Wales but when it really mattered, the decisive third Test, they smashed a game Wales team by 16 points and it should have been more.

The Kiwis now cruise to Nelspruit and they will be delighted to be out of the Land of the Long Black Shroud after being crucified for their first home series loss since 1994.

Of course the All Blacks will come out fighting in their bid for redemption but that won’t be enough because they have deep structural problems that can’t be overcome with a flick of a switch. It is almost a week now since they lost to Ireland and Ian Foster has not been fired so it is too late now to do it before the Rugby Championship.

Foster doesn’t know who his best combinations are and it would appear that he has lost the change room.

If a full-strength Bok team — at home at the Mbombela Stadium and then Ellis Park — doesn’t put away the ailing All Blacks, they can forget about defending the World Cup.

But they will and then it is off to Australia where they lost both their games last year. The Wallabies away are a mental block for the Boks and I know Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber have targeted winning in Australia as a major box to tick in their journey to the World Cup.

If the Boks add one Wallaby win to two victories over the All Blacks, they just need to put away the Pumas and the Championship is theirs.

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