‘Quo­tas’ not the cause of Bok ca­pit­u­la­tion to NZ

Daily Dispatch - - Sport - Thando Manana

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.

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