Listen Live

The rudder has broken off the Springbok boat

After the Springboks spoiled another weekend for the country's rugby faithful we could at least still walk into work this Monday morning armed with a smile, thanks to our remarkable Paralympic athletes.

Trevor Cramer thumbnail

After the Springboks spoiled another weekend for the country's rugby faithful we could at least still walk into work this Monday morning armed with a smile, thanks to our remarkable Paralympic athletes.

Six medals in less than a week and a world Paralympic record is certainly something to get excited about. Even more so the emergence of 14-year-old double amputee Ntando Mahlangu as a potential world beater.

On two wheels, South African Moto3 rider Brad Binder, with the Red Bull KTM machine between his legs, increased his World Championship lead with a thrilling victory -- his fifth of the season -- in the MotoGP3 Grand Prix in Italy.

But when it comes to our elite soccer and rugby teams, there is sadly nothing but misery and a gloomy outlook.

Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has been given a stay of execution for now by his employers SAFA, but appears to be standing close to the exit door after failure to qualify for AFCON 2017. There are also more and more potholes ahead on the Road to Russia 2018 in a very difficult qualifying group.

Let's focus in this instance on our beleaguered Springboks.

They played exactly 18 minutes of decent rugby against an Australian side lacking confidence, badly battered in the preceding two weeks by the rampant All Blacks and under intense pressure to snap a horrendous five match losing streak under Michael Cheika.

And yes, Springbok dominance in that period showed on the scoreboard, as they played a fluent brand of rugby, opening up a 14-3 lead. 

But soon enough the Boks got stuck in a time warp again. If I can make an analogy of sorts, they simply refused to move on from the typewriter to the computer age and embrace a new technological era.

They became directionless, devoid of a plan to counter the Wallabies' patient, but not overly impressive comeback. In my view the team seriously lacked on-field leadership or decision-making of any sort.

It's not as if the Wallabies played anything that resembled scintillating rugby either. They simply capitalised on multiple Bok errors.

Gone was the fluency, gone was the attacking intent, gone were the direct running lines at speed or an effective pick and drive.

In fact, in the post-match analysis, a very knowledgeable colleague of mine failed to find a Bok player performance rating much beyond 5/10 over the 80 minutes. Spot on -- there were just no standout players.

Astute coaching brain Nick Mallett, never short of an honest word, said it was like watching 'B-division rugby' and Bok World Cup-winning coach Jake White said he feared that South African rugby authorities are accepting 'mediocrity' far too easily.

But should we be pointing our loaded guns at coach Allister Coetzee, whose first three months on the job reads -- played 6, won 3, lost 3 ?

The answer I feel, is an outright NO.

One cannot blame a coach for a players' inability to make decisions on the field of play, revert to plan B when the game plan goes awry or figure out counter-measures and eliminate schoolboy errors and ill-discipline.

Browsing through the match statistics (courtesy of Vodacom All-Out Rugby app), the real story emerges. 

The Boks will be ruing the amount of unforced errors in the match which included 10 knock-on's and 12 handling errors. Not to mention the discipline element, having conceded 10 penalties.

Even the Boks' experienced heads looked devoid of ideas and off their game. The call-up on Monday of overseas-based Willem Alberts to join the Boks in New Zealand, smacks of desperation.

And so to Christchurch on Saturday.

The Boks have ended on the wrong side of the scoreboard against the All Blacks in 11 of their last 13 Tests.

The New Zealanders are simply dominating world rugby and the pretenders to the throne seem to be slipping further and further behind. 

In fact the engraver has probably already sharpened his engraving tool in anticipation of adding yet another 'New Zealand' entry to the Rugby Championship trophy.

Pundits seem to agree -- It's not a question as to whether the All Blacks will beat the Boks in Christchurch, but rather by how much.

It seems certain that we are in for another bleak weekend as the men in green and gold plod their way through the 2016 Rugby Championship. 

Springboks -- take your cue from our Paralympians,  but sadly the NZ Herald may not be too far off the mark when they rate the chances of a Bok victory 'slim to zero'.

Show's Stories