By Tariq Lorgat
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 10 of VARSITY News.
These last two match weeks for the national rugby side were arguably some of the biggest matches they’ve seen. Having narrowly beaten the All Blacks in Wellington with a resolute defensive display, morale was definitely high throughout the country and pride for the team was at an all-time high.
The game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium against the Wallabies, although unconvincing, showed how far they’ve come from their loss in Suncorp to the same opponents. This looked more like a team assured of their roles and what they needed to do in order to get the job done. A strong running and an organised defence allowed them to be victorious against their opponents.
Heartbreak abruptly came in the very next game. Having struck first against the All Blacks at Loftus, things were looking up for the Springboks. Even though the All Blacks came in with the odd try here and there, the game still seemed firmly in the Springboks hands. For the first time in a while it seemed as if, in a Springboks vs All Blacks match, the game was firmly in the Boks’ hands. They seemed confident against this side while still giving their opponents the respect they deserved. This however proved to be their downfall as a minute before the hooter, the All Blacks scored a try to tie up the game, which converted it to a victory for their opponents.
Having let the disappointment of that day pass and actually digesting the outcome of the game, it should actually fill us with more pride for what happened. Our team, the one we exalt as the best in the world, came up against the All Blacks which is internationally recognised as the best, and took them right to the edge after beating them on their home turf. Going into that game, for the first time in a while, the team who needed to win more was the All Blacks and coming with everything they could, we still took them right to the end. The Boks receiving a loss to the All Blacks in the last minute of an entertaining game is not something to be down about.
The Springboks will use this a fuel to fight another day, and do better. Now that we (and more importantly they) see how well they can play, expect to see that team more often.