There are a number of reasons why I’m chuffed the Springboks hammered Argentina on Saturday, but two things make me especially happy. Firstly, it looks as if the Rugby Championship is going to be more thrilling than the last few instalments we’ve seen and, secondly, I’m pleased for coach Heyneke Meyer.
The All Blacks have played rugby at a different level to any other nation for years now, and again on Saturday when they faced the Wallabies, looked to be pure class. They were sensational in picking up five points away from home and many felt that should they win in Australia they would have one hand on the trophy, after just one round of matches.
You see, the thinking is a New Zealand win in Australia, to go with two wins against Argentina and two more wins at home – against the Wallabies and Boks – would see them go all the way. That’s why their victory on Saturday was viewed in some quarters as “job half done”.
But a few hours later South Africa ripped Argentina apart and all of a sudden there is hope the Boks can actually go all the way this year, perhaps even topple the All Blacks in their own backyard. It’s still early days and we mustn’t forget Argentina were already a beaten team by the time Fourie du Preez made his entry on Saturday. They were extremely poor in everything they did, but then the Boks were especially good as well.
Argentina were there for the taking and, boy, did the Boks cash in – like any good team would do.
The Springboks look to be a well-balanced and well-coached side and Meyer’s got everything to do with that. He was criticised when he got the job, with many feeling the Boks would go backwards and not forwards under his guidance, but how he’s proved everyone wrong.
Meyer’s surrounded himself with assistants and consultants he trusts and believes in and he’s spoken more about attacking rugby in the last few weeks than many coaches before him. He knows what it takes to win and he knows how to get the best out of his players. He’s a damn fine selector too and this Bok side all of a sudden looks the business.
The Bulls, under Meyer, were close to being the best provincial side in the world and no matter what anyone says, they played great rugby and won on a regular basis. Now, there’s no reason why Meyer can’t do the same with the Boks ... he knows what’s required and he knows what it takes.
There will be hiccups along the way, but I firmly believe that in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, when the World Cup comes around, the Boks could very well be the No 1 side in the world. Heck, it may even be sooner than that. - The Star