‘Quotas’ not the cause of Bok capitulation to NZ
Yes, the Springboks choked against New Zealand and the choker in chief was the coach, Rassie Erasmus. His naiveté at international level was exposed against a master tactician – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
As New Zealand columnist, Chris Rattue, wrote in the aftermath of the Boks’ defeat to the All Blacks 32-30 at Loftus, despite leading 30-13 with 20 minutes to go, South Africa blew it.
“The Springboks produced a monumental choke, a confidence-sapper that negates the advances achieved in Wellington,” Rattue wrote.
“They absolutely blew it, more than the
All Blacks won it.”
To a large extent, I have to agree. What I don’t agree with, though, is the drivel that made itself into a newspaper – casual racism dressed as a letter to the editor.
The uneducated writer of the letter blamed the second half substitutes, the majority of whom were black, on the last gasp defeat and called them quota players. It’s an old and frankly, tired jibe.
The Boks lost to the All Blacks last weekend due to their failure to close the game and throw away the key long before substitutes came into the reckoning. In the first half they persisted with a territorial kicking game and they abandoned the ploy when they needed it most.
People are quick to blame black players when things go wrong. But let’s go through the defensive frailties from last weekend. Where was Malcolm Marx when Codie Taylor burst through the ruck and fed the ball to Aaron Smith? He was near the ruck and the man he should be marking pickedand-went without being touched. He lost concentration at a crucial moment.
What about Eben Etzebeth and Francois Louw getting in each other’s way during a crucial restart that gave New Zealand all the momentum? Where was the quota catcalling then?
There were enough rugby reasons on the field to do a swift post mortem as to the cause of the shock loss.
The substitutes were visibly undercooked – a point I mentioned in my last column. The chance to give the likes of Embrose Papier, Damian Willemse and Elton Jantjies some good Test minutes was missed against the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth.
Time for Erasmus to learn the international ropes are fast running out. The Boks play New Zealand in the first match of the World Cup in Group B.
To bring something that the Kiwis won’t predict, we need a skills coach in the Springbok line-up as a matter of urgency. We have never excelled at the kick-chase and that is something that concerns me.
If we don’t have one soon, we will slide back to the brute force we have relied on for a century and that will not suffice in Japan next year.