CAPE TOWN – With the Springboks' sensational victory over the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship on Saturday, it is no wonder that it also dominates Mark Keohane's Raves and Rants.
1. No one, save those within the Springbok squad, gave the South Africans any chance of beating the All Blacks in New Zealand.
To do so the Boks had to create history and do what no team has done before. And history is what they made. They scored 36 points, which is more than any team has ever managed against the All Blacks in New Zealand. They scored five tries, which was a combination of attacking brilliance and opportunism. The Boks, even though, they had just 25 percent possession, got those points because of a mindset that was attack minded. Take a bow Swys de Bruin.
2. The only other defensive effort that compares with South Africa’s 235 tackles was France’s 200-plus in their 2007 World Cup quarter-final victory against the All Blacks. No team has ever made 235 tackles against the All Blacks and triumphed. It was heroic and courageous. New Zealand beat 39 SA defenders and made 19 clean line breaks. Technically, it was a very flawed Bok defensive effort but it was also a defensive effort in which the human spirit towered over statistics. Bok captain Siya Kolisi was colossal in the defensive effort and the little men Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe produced sensational scrambling defensive efforts.
3. The Currie Cup is into it’s fourth round and it hardly registers while the Rugby Championship is being played. Does anyone care? That’s a question for another time, but who should care is the Western Province Rugby Union leadership who opted to ignore John Dobson’s claims to leading the Stormers. Instead Robbie Fleck was given the head coaching job, but it is Dobson who has revelled with Province in the last few years. And it is Dobson who should be entrusted with leading the Stormers given the sublime rugby the team is playing.
1. Nigel Owens is the best referee in the world. But Owens got it badly wrong in the final moments of Saturday’s Test between the All Blacks and Boks when he failed to respond to the TMO’s call that De Klerk and Warren Whiteley were offside. All Black coach Steve Hansen refused to “bi***” about the mistake, but it does not excuse the mistake. Why did the TMO not intervene when play broke down? Rugby is about getting the right decisions and in the most critical moment of this Test a refereeing error contributed to a historic Bok win.
2. All Black flyhalf Beauden Barrett is no Dan Carter. A week ago most of New Zealand hailed Barrett as better than Carter on the basis of four tries and 30 points against Australia. But Barrett’s goalkicking, in missing four from six conversion attempts, mirrored his inaccuracy in the 15-all drawn final Test against the British & Irish Lions. Carter, the leading points scorer in Test rugby, never botched those big goalkicking moments that determines a winning or losing effort. Hansen said the All Blacks lost because they conceded 36 points, but he was being kind. They lost because Barrett missed eight points. No team who scored six tries should lose a Test.
3. Israel Folau went for glory and it turned gory for the Wallabies fullback turned wing. Folau had scored a great individual try in the first half and he had the opportunity to create the match winner against Argentina on Saturday. He did everything right in drawing three defenders with the final movement of the game. He just had to offload to an unmarked player and Australia score and win. Folau bottled it, took the tackle, lost the ball and Argentina won in Australia for the first time in 35 years.