False dawns: The Wallabies’ two incredible halves and the Boks’ win streak

Harry Jones Roar Guru

By , Harry Jones is a Roar Guru

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    Whose dawn is more false: two halves of perfect rugby against the best in the world that ended in two losses, or five wins with 35 points a game against uninterested foes?

    Maybe both the Wallabies and Springboks are deluded. Maybe one or the other is on the rise, or perhaps both are better than 2016 suggested.

    Both have inherent weaknesses. Both have several stars.

    The Boklings are small in the back three and at least one wing, Raymond ‘The Matador’ Rhule, is afraid of tackling. The Wallabies have a fragile tight five, which is weak at scrum time, and one hooker cannot scrum while another who cannot throw.

    Kootchie Koo’s Boklings do seem, at least, to know what they want to do: use their superior fitness to take their foe out to deep waters, and then drown them in late scoring.

    The two dozen tries scored by South Africa in 2017 have been mostly from quick passing and straight lines; not mauls. The loose trios should be equally fast, but the Boks are winning more turnovers.

    Neither team has a particularly good flyhalf. RAF bomber pilot Bernard Foley is a pole dancer, and Elton Beltin’ Jantjies is more moody than Joe.

    The Wallabies do have a world class nine, while the Boklings have a few journeymen clearing from the base.

    But the real problem for Cheika’s men may be speed; the Boklings have too much of it, and the Aussies are a little slow nowadays.

    Lineouts will be intriguing; but in all likelihood, the scrum battle will be ugly for the home team in Perth.

    There are a few mismatches possible: Will Genia would probably beat Ross Cronje by ten metres in a twenty-metre race, Courtnall Skosan could probably win a footrace with Dan Haylett-Petty or Israel Folau running backwards, Folau in the air against any Saffa back, big Eben Etzebeth and little Michael Hooper deal very differently with the referee, ‘Beast’ Mtawarira has 90 caps’ worth of learning to scrum tricky, and Ned Hanigan will probably not enjoy tackling Jean-Luc du Preez.

    This might be the pivotal match in the Rugby Championship this season. Win, and the Boks will probably stay alive until the October 7 Test at Newlands against the mighty All Blacks. Lose, and it’s another boring tournament among the also-rans.

    It’s always darkest before the dawn, but whose dawn is false?