The Springboks’ long anticipated battle with the All Blacks in Yokohama has been lost but the World Cup war can still be won by South Africa.
The Boks, in defeat, showed that they have deep reserves of fighting spirit, and they are going to have to dig ever deeper if they are to bounce back to win the Webb Ellis Cup.
No country has ever won the trophy after losing a Pool game, so that is a record waiting to be broken and it could well happen in the final itself given that the permutations of the tournament allow for these two teams to have a rematch in the final.
If that comes to pass, the Boks might also have the benefit of a “neutral” referee given that they regularly fell foul of Jerome Garces, who penalised the Boks 10 occasions to two at the breakdown.
To be frank, the Boks seldom win favour with French referees.