Wish­ing the Boks suc­cess to­day

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

Tlight. HE SPRING­BOKS be­gin their quest for re- demp­tion, af­ter their an­nus hor­ri­bilis last year, when they face France at Lof­tus Vers- feld to­day in the first of three Tests this month. The Boks could hardly have ended last year on a worse note when they lost their sec­ond-last match of the sea­son to in­signif­i­cant Italy, mark­ing a low point in their proud his­tory. But the gloom has been swept aside and the por- tents are that an in­vig­o­rated Bok team will hit the ground run­ning to­day with a brand of rugby that will not only win matches but thrill sup­port­ers. There is a new en­ergy about the team and in Al- lis­ter Coet­zee, a coach who will be much the wiser in his sec­ond year in charge. He has been pos­i­tive and cau­tious this week when speak­ing about the “new be­gin­nings” for him and his team. Coet­zee is a coach stung by crit­i­cism – “we are not liv­ing in a fool’s par­adise” – but has spo­ken about a vi­brant group of play­ers who want to set the record straight. He has se­lected seven Lions play­ers in his start- ing XV for to­day’s clash and while some hoped for more per­son­nel from South Africa’s form Su­per Rugby side, the spine of the team will mar­shal the way the Boks play. That will hope­fully be ex­pan­sive and – most per­ti­nently – win­ning rugby. The Lions have been our stan­dard-bear­ers the last three sea­sons and the “king of the pride”, Warren White­ley, has been cho­sen as the 58th man to cap­tain the Boks. He is an im­mensely pos­i­tive char­ac­ter and the ideal can- di­date to lead a team out of the dark and into the The men in green and gold are an im­por­tant part of South African cul­ture. They are two-time Rugby World Cup cham­pi­ons and have brought much joy to this coun­try. Ev­ery South African will be wish- ing Coet­zee, White­ley and co the very best as they be­gin this fresh chap­ter of Spring­bok rugby.

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