Ul­ti­mate test for Spring­boks

Saturday Star - - OPINION -

THE SPRING­BOKS could hardly have had a rosier start to 2017, given the hor­rors of 2016, and en­tered a Rugby Cham­pi­onship Test against the All Blacks to­day un­beaten in six matches. The Boks lost eight out of 12 Tests last year, but the signs are that the Boks have turned the cor­ner, re­gained their and are de­ter­mined to take South African rugby into a new era.

The ul­ti­mate exam is play­ing the All Blacks in New Zealand. There is no place to hide against the most ruth­less team in rugby his­tory. In the am­a­teur era, that sta­tus be­longed to the Boks – when the Boks and the All Blacks re­newed bat­tle in 1992 af­ter iso­la­tion, the for­mer had beaten the lat­ter 20 times against 15 losses.

As South African rugby evolves, there is hope that the Boks can one day be All Blacks-beat­ers again, given that they ar­guably en­joy the best re­sources in the world in emerg­ing school­boy tal­ent.

The Boks will know where they stand once they have judged them­selves against the Ki­wis on their home turf. This year they beat France 3-0 in a home se­ries, as well as Ar­gentina home and away in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

The first lit­mus Test for the Boks was against the Wal­la­bies in Perth last Satur­day. The Boks drew 23-23.

They would have taken heart from that per­for­mance and now meet their old foes, who have had a few cracks in their in­vin­ci­bil­ity ex­posed this year.

The All Blacks lost and drew against the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Li­ons on home soil in June and al­most lost to the Wal­la­bies in Dunedin.

To­day, the Boks will want to prove they are the real deal; the All Blacks want to snuff out this “non­sense” that they are on the de­cline. It is a match that rugby fans dare not miss.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.