CAPE TOWN – Take a moment to enjoy the fact that the Springboks are in the World Cup final for the first time since 2007. Celebrate the Boks on this glorious of South African sporting Mondays.
The Boks, 19-16, winners against Wales, won for the first time in five Tests against Wales but crucially won for the third successive time in World Cups against the Welsh.
Wales were belligerent and tough. The Boks had to be at their brutal best to subdue a Welsh team that found belief in the final quarter and for a few anxious moments threatened to take the game away from the Springboks.
The Boks, courtesy of the imposing Damian de Allende, broke the try-scoring shackle and at 16-9 seemed to have the momentum. But the Welsh, so improved during Warren Gatland’s tenure, refused to go away. They came back stronger, set up a penalty after 20 phases, opted for the scrum and scored to level the match 16-all.
My Bok matches at this World Cup have dovetailed with being the Master of Ceremonies at #BokTown at Cape Town’s Waterfront. The support and passion for the Boks remains powerful and seductive. The capacity audience at #BokTown played every one of those last 10 minutes as if they were on the field yesterday. It was glorious to experience and to witness, and it showed just how much pride has been restored to the Boks in the past 18 months.
Take the biggest of bows Rassie Erasmus and his leadership team. Equally, South African Rugby Union president Mark Alexander and chief executive Jurie Roux for bringing back Erasmus from Ireland where he was coaching Munster.
SA’s win against Wales was as much a testimony to Erasmus’ ability as a selector and tactician as it was to the bravery and technical mastery of the Boks, when it comes to playing to the collective strengths of the squad.