1. Steven Kitshoff’s star shone brightest among the Springboks at a miserable, wet and awful Newlands. The Boks, as a collective, weren’t at the races. The series was secured and the Boks’ inability to back up the winning of the series with a whitewash result highlighted the work mentally that still has to be done with this group of players.
The exception is Kitshoff. He is the most explosive loosehead prop in world rugby and there isn’t another prop who makes such an immediate impact when introduced to the game. The moment Kitshoff came on there was a lift in intensity, especially around the fringes of the breakdown. Unfortunately, Kitshoff was the exception among the Boks.
2. England captain and inside centre Owen Farrell, in conditions scripted to complement his marksmanship with the boot, delivered when his team demanded a performance of unerring accuracy.
Farrell’s display was a delight. He kicked seven from seven and his boot was equally effective in determining the areas in which England played the last 10 minutes of a Test that, at 70 minutes, was in the balance.
3. Ireland’s season finished with the statement that this Irish squad is the best produced in the country’s history. Irish rugby has never been stronger and 2018 will rank as the country’s greatest year. Ireland’s provincial giants Leinster won the PRO14 and Champions Cup, Ireland won the Six Nations and, against Australia, became just the fifth team in the last century to come from 1-0 down in an away series to win. It was a fantastic three-Test series, the best of the month’s international rugby, with both Ireland and Australia, putting down a marker for the 2019 World Cup.
1. There is no kind way of putting it: Elton Jantjies isn’t good enough to play for the Boks.
Twice he dropped the ball, once from a pass and once from a kick, and from the resultant scrum England won penalties and converted them into six points. They also scored from Jantjies’ charged down kick. Jantjies also missed with his first penalty. Jantjies, in Super Rugby, struts. In Test rugby he staggers and stumbles.
The Boks, with him at No 10, will not win the World Cup. Likeable and loved, he was lost at Newlands in every sense of the word.
2. How different would this Test have been had it been played at Cape Town Stadium? Everything about the Test would have been better, possibly even the result. The Newlands versus Cape Town Stadium debate on Saturday was ended in the same way the Jantjies versus (Handre) Pollard debate ended.
Newlands, like Jantjies, is not good enough for Test rugby. The old lady of SA rugby is more at death’s door than simply tired. The Boks must never play again at Newlands. The City of Cape Town and WP rugby bosses have to find common ground, and common sense has to trump misguided and charitable emotion associated with the history of the ground.
3. The love affair generally with everything New Zealand is absolute madness.
There is one rule for the All Blacks and one for the rest, and every weekend this sentiment is reinforced when it comes to interpretation and law application. To those who put the All Blacks on a pedestal so high that all visuals of their fallibility is blurred, take an aerial view of the men in black and you’ll see more inglorious than glorious.
There has been a change of guard from Richie McCaw’s wonderful 2015 World Cup winners, but because of referee bias there hasn’t been a change of results.