I bumped into a former school mate over the weekend. “Did you see the rugby?”, I asked him reluctantly.
“I don’t watch the Boks anymore”, he replied, “I get too upset.” (I may have cleaned this conversation up a bit)
This made me reflect upon my own mood after watching the Boks get pipped by our ‘traditional rivals’ the night before.
I found I wasn’t angry – I was almost accepting. And I think that’s reflective of the decreasing expectations I have for the Springboks.
I used to get angry when we lost to the All Blacks. I got angry because I always thought we were good enough to beat them, and sometimes we were! But we’re not good enough anymore.
We’re good enough to beat the French and the Pumas. I’d be angry if we lost to them. We’re good enough to beat the Wallabies, and I’d be angry if we lost to them, particularly at home. England? Na, not good enough. Not angry. Move on.
All this talk about a Springboks and All Blacks rivalry is a load of rubbish. A rivalry is competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field. The All Blacks have won 14 of the last 16 Tests against the Springboks.
We’re not competing for the same objective, and we’re certainly not in the same field. 0 is one field, and 57 is another in a galaxy far, far away.
Right now the Springboks are scrapping away in a pack of five teams all below the two teams that are at the top of the leader board. That’s the field we’re in.
Lowering expectations can help ease the pain – and my fellow Springbok fans I know you’re hurting – but I think that’s how I’m going to deal with this for now.
In 2017 this team gave us a glimmer of hope, and it made us believe again. But that’s all been wiped away by a catastrophic performance in Albany. They need to respond… or make me angry again.