It’s been three days since South Africa’s catastrophic defeat to Japan. I’ve read all kinds of comments from Springbok fans on the different rugby websites I frequently visit to read articles and fans comments. Blame largely being directed at Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. Which I feel is totally justifiable.
Many South African fans pointing toward selection as the fault. Selection is important but it is a very small part of creating a squad that can win competitions or just win Test by Test. Nobodies can be coached well into a winning squad. Look at the Highlanders in Superrugby or the Lions currently in Currie cup rugby or even a bunch of unknown Japanese rugby players beating the ‘mighty’ Springboks.
The Springbok squad is full of excellent rugby players. So what is going on?
I question how well the Springboks know their opponents. The South African public certainly have shown very little interest in familiarizing themselves with players from other teams. So a question I ask is if you don’t actually know who you are playing against how can you predict victories of 40 points or more? Isn’t this the right ingredients for complacency?
With South Africa’s next game against Samoa, I have yet to read an article on the South African rugby websites that tells the reader who the danger men are in the Samoan squad or what kind of gameplan can we expect from the Samoans.
How many South African fans watched the match between Samoa and the U.S.A ? It is a perfect opportunity to check out the opposition. How many of the South African fans that never watched this match predict that South Africa will bounce back against Samoa?
How can you learn about different ways to play rugby if you only ever look at your own team. How many SA fans are separating what teams do in defence and what they do in attack? How many are looking at other teams scrums or lineouts?
Talking about who you are going to meet in the quarter -finals is arrogant when the pool games have not been played yet.
Rugby is only the third most popular sport in Japan. Japan only won one game in Rugby World Cups previous to their victory over the Boks. Who could have predicted that Japan would have beaten the Boks. I wrote a previous article, https://attheground.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/scotland-ambition-will-see-them-top-pool-b/,suggesting that Scotland and Samoa may beat South Africa only for people to tell what a ridiculous notion I had had. South African fans aren’t so sure now.
South Africans have tended to react quite aggressively to anyone that suggests that South Africa might be fallible instead of taking heed. Just read what was said about Eddie Jones before the Japan game when Eddie Jones laid out his plan to beat the Boks.