Well that didn’t go according to plan

Written by leon. Posted in Rugby World Cup 2011

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Published on October 11, 2011 with No Comments

Last week we got really excited with the start of the quarter final stage at this year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. South Africa was up against Australia and sadly we saw a result that broke the hearts of about 50 million South Africans. (This month’s census could verify that number.) The Springboks dominated every facet of the game except the scoreboard. They wasted multiple opportunities and the Aussies managed to score with every opportunity they got. To be fair the Springboks’ whole game plan revolves around forcing the opposition into making mistakes and then to capatilise on those mistakes. The capatilise part was missing this weekend.

Yes Bryce Lawrence was very lenient at the breakdown, but I don’t think he was biased. The Australians, David Pocock in particular, were much better at adapting to the referee and in the modern game that is what it is about. Referees aren’t consistent and no matter how much people are going to moan about it, its not something that’s going to change overnight. The best players are the ones that can adapt to the situation and play an intelligent game using the referee to their advantage.

Its a sad way for a few Bok legends to leave the game on a losing note. At least they can hold their heads high in defeat. At least they lost playing their heart’s out with their pride in tact. Victor Matfield in particular had a huge game robbing the Australians of lineout ball as he has been doing for the past ten years. Its also a sad goodbye to captain courageous John Smit. I wonder if he knew two years ago what he knows today if he would have stuck around? This defeat and early World Cup exit has definitely done his reputation some damage but in the end he will probably still rather be remembered for 2007 and 2009. Its also the end of the road for Peter de Villiers. To be honest, I think the only thing the average South African rugby supporter will miss about him is his snor and his comments. From next year Springbok press conferences will be robbed of the comedy everyone has come accustomed to.

For the rest of the tournament we can now look forward to some good rugby between some of the best teams at the tournament. To be honest only France doesn’t really deserve to be there. They have probably now played their one big game for the tournament and this in form, well coached Welsh side will be too good, even if the French miraculously decide to actually pitch up two weeks in a row. In the other semi I think the All Blacks will dominate Australia up front, just like the Boks did, but won’t leave the points on the park. Craig Joubert also won’t be so generous with his whistle and Weepu has shown that he is more than competent to make them pay. These All Blacks, even without Dan Carter, aren’t going to lose easily at Eden Park.

At least this weekend we’ll all be able to watch some rugby without getting those mild heart attacks every time David Pocock’s hands go into a ruck.

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