CAPE TOWN - Consistency, consistency and consistency. That is all Springbok fans are asking for from their team. It is not just about winning, but how the Boks win which will be put to the ultimate test by the All Blacks in their upcoming Test at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
And the Boks will know it will be all that matters if they are to replicate the victory of Wellington last month this time around in Pretoria. The thing about the Boks since Rassie Erasmus took over the reins of the team this year is how they are able to sparkle and look like world beaters in 40 minutes, and do the complete opposite in another 40 minutes of rugby.
That was evident in the six Tests they played from the series against England in June to the Test against Australia in Brisbane almost a month ago. The Boks have grappled with the most basic and important fundamental of winning Test match rugby, which is staying in the contest for 80 minutes.
But they were able to prove to themselves, their fickle supporters and the world, that they are no 40-minute wonders - or the inept side that their lowly seventh-place standing on the world rankings suggested - with their 36-34 win over the All Blacks.
The Boks are a better side than they have been for the most part of Erasmus’ short tenure, and they showed it with the courage and kamikaze spirit they left on the field at the Cake Tin.
In fact what the Boks did was no flash-in-the-pan performance, instead it was a true reflection of the potential that lies within the side, and a glimpse of how good they can be if they put their minds to it.
Last week in the build-up to the Test against Australia in Port Elizabeth, Bok captain Siya Kolisi admitted that much of how they played in Wellington had everything to do with what happens “upstairs”, and little to do with the physical attributes of the team.
Great weather conditions as the boys warm up ahead of the late morning training session at Loftus. pic.twitter.com/nxWs3FVjMy— South African Rugby (@Springboks) October 2, 2018
Kolisi, just like many South Africans, knows that pound for pound his Springbok team can take on and beat the best in the world on any given day, but they need to have their minds in the right place.
Admittedly that kind of confidence comes with time and winning, but the Springboks have to realise they don’t have either luxury, and will have to make do with what they have now. And what they have now is belief and a healthy smattering of confidence, especially after they set the bar high with that historic win against the odds in the New Zealand capital.
All they need to do now is back themselves again, believe in the power of the collective, sacrifice life and limb for country and victory, and attack with the ruthlessness of a wounded beast.
That is how the Springboks beat the All Blacks and that is how they will beat them again in their own capital. But they will need to be consistent in performances and winning if they are to live out their ultimate dream of being crowned world champions in a year’s time in Japan.@WynonaLouw