Springbok comeback victory a sign of character

Corne Van Vuuren Roar Guru

By Corne Van Vuuren, Corne Van Vuuren is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    You would be forgiven if after the first 25 minutes at Johannesburg you thought the Test match between South Africa and England was done and dusted, with the tourists up 24-3.

    The momentum was such that every bounce of the ball, every unnecessary error possible went England’s way.

    But then the tide turned.

    The Springboks struck back with four tries in the next quarter, with Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux and S’busiso Nkosi’s two scores seeing the home team go into halftime with a lead of 29-27.

    Suddenly, this inexperienced Bok team started to look confident.

    The second half was more like traditional Test match rugby. At 50 minutes, Handre Pollard landed a penalty, edging South Africa further ahead, and but for two missed penalties, they could have stretched the gap from five to 11.

    Then, in the 60th minute, Mako Vunipola was carded for a late shoulder hit on Faf de Klerk and South Africa obliged with a try, stretching the lead to 12 points.

    During the yellow card period, England struck back with a try of their own and the deficit was restored.

    In the end, South Africa held on for a crucial victory – it would have been disastrous for Rassie Erasmus’ men to lose successive Tests at the beginning of his tenure.

    There weren’t any really poor performances, however defence is something Erasmus will need to focus on. From the opening minute, it was clear the back line didn’t know each other well and the defensive combinations and structures weren’t working.

    Out wide, England found oodles of space and the hesitation in the SA midfield defence meant that the backline defence shifted in, only to provide the necessary space out wide.

    There were also some poorly executed tackles – Pollard, in particular, was disappointing, his tackling technique was to go very low and that meant he was largely ineffectual.

    The Springboks showed a willingness to retain posession and there were some silky skills on show, but then there were also some horribly risky passes and offloads as well.

    Dwayne Vermeulen, RG Snyman, Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux and S’busiso Nkosi were the standouts, but credit should go to Siya Kolisi and his senior players, who managed to keep the team calm and keep believnig in their processes.

    It is too early to tell whether this Bok team will be consistently successful, but it delivers in spades the belief that Rassie is transforming Springbok rugby into a team for all people of South Africa, a team that looks to be more flashy in attack and knows how to score points.

    All they need now is attitude in defence and to grow – the longer Erasmus can stick to a core selection, the better the combinations will function.

    What I loved about the 50,000-plus crowd in Johannesburg was the diversity, celebrating their first black Springbok captain’s win.

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    The Crowd Says (79)

    • June 11th 2018 @ 3:53am
      Cape Republic said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:53am | ! Report

      I loved the diversity too. Honestly speaking, I thought this Springbok side would lose, given the lack of inexperience and players combinations.

      I’m hella surprised that they came back the way they did. After about 20 min in the game, it seemed as England weren’t even in the game.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 4:09am
        taylorman said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:09am | ! Report

        I’ll say, in its context the comeback was incredible. The Harrys and Biltongs must have been having nightmares after England went up 24-3 in quick time, especially when looking at some of last years results. To comeback from that so heavily would have been surreal. Even I was tempted to turn it off to avoid watching a bath.

        I didnt because of the Saders Tahs result and decided to gove Erasmus and his young injured squad a chance to face adversity for the first time.

        And did they what!😁

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 4:50am
        Corne Van Vuuren said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:50am | ! Report

        Agree Cape Republic, for me this might just be the watershed moment. We never showed this grit under Coetzee

        • June 11th 2018 @ 11:05am
          SJ said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:05am | ! Report

          Not true. Very similar comeback against Ireland at the start of Coetzee’s tenor.

          • Roar Guru

            June 12th 2018 @ 12:49am
            Corne Van Vuuren said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:49am | ! Report

            All I remember are the numerous capitulations

            • June 14th 2018 @ 3:47am
              Ulrich said | June 14th 2018 @ 3:47am | ! Report

              To give some perspective:

              -> First loss on home soil to IRE – to a 14 man and depleted Irish team too.
              -> First away loss to ARG
              -> First loss to Italy
              -> Two 50 point drubbings against the All Blacks
              -> Most points conceded against IRE ever in 111 years.
              -> 10 Year (or something to that effect) winning streak broken against England – can sort of be forgiven for that as the English were good the last few seasons.
              -> Continued losses to Wales.
              -> Draw against World XV
              -> Raymond Rhule
              -> Inability of our players to catch a hoisted ball.
              -> Directionless play ALL the time bar the French series when Serfontein found some form on the back of our forwards bettering the tired French.
              -> Worst ever year in Springbok history 4 from 12.
              -> Largest margin of defeat 57 – 0 (ZERO)

              Yet, there were “positives” from all these games. Players and fellow coaches were blamed when the heat came AC’s way.

              Rassie loses by 2 points to Wales with both teams having experimental line-ups on neutral ground. He does not complain, does not say there were positives. Merely acknowledges that the loss hurt.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 4:03am
      felix said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:03am | ! Report

      That was a great game,one you wont forget easily.if they jell as a combination with Marx,Whiteley and co to return things could look up 😉

      • June 15th 2018 @ 9:32pm
        IvanN said | June 15th 2018 @ 9:32pm | ! Report

        Kitshoff,Marx,Malherbe,Eben,RG,Siya,PSDT,Duane – 938kg
        4-8 avg height 1.98m

        I would use Whiteley to speed up a game in the final 20, not as a starter.

        Id also have given esterhuizen a run this week – he did well against wales and damien hasnt really ha his usual impact.
        with the additional incentive of him knowing Am well.

        • July 10th 2018 @ 12:09am
          Jake said | July 10th 2018 @ 12:09am | ! Report

          I would like to see Whitley and Paul Jordaan come on to speed it up…what a power bench PJ can cover 12 and 13. The young wings will benefit from him especially defensively. But also on his pace and offload it would be champagne rugby.. fast as…
          Then for the rwc Marcel Coetzee, Bismark and Frans Steyn that is some power.
          Fran must start. RG to alternate with Eben or together.. so many combo’s at lock.. You still need to find depth at 9..DDA is not at this level and will never be what the boks want, he seems brain dead. And Thor wow what a player. Good days are coming for the boks if they can get these guys in the mix… The old heads are needed come rwc time and then Rassie can take a settled team to the next one..

    • Roar Guru

      June 11th 2018 @ 4:27am
      Machpants said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:27am | ! Report

      Not just the bokke come back, how about the blitzbokke too?! Winning the series over Fiji, wow

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 4:50am
        Corne Van Vuuren said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:50am | ! Report

        I feel for Fiji though machpants, they won five trophies this year vs the Blitzboks only two. Their inconsistency paid the ultimate price

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 9:38am
          Charging Rhino said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          BB this has happened many times to the Boks, with NZ winning a series even though winning less trophies.
          So I don’t really feel sorry for Fiji, we’ve copped it many times that it’s nice to be on the “right” side of the ledger this time 🙂

    • Roar Guru

      June 11th 2018 @ 4:38am
      Kia Kaha said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:38am | ! Report

      Congrats, Corne.

      That Mike Brown try makes for ugly moving. Good determination from him but awful defending.

      I was quite impressed by how England played. They identified the fringes and played with width with judicious, long passing.

      Faf de Klerk and Willie Le Roux (how SA has missed him!) really sparked the attack and the SA comeback. The wingers are still green but they look like union wingers instead of Sevens speedsters.

      England shouldn’t be too disheartened but it comes off a run of defeats so it’ll be interesting to monitor the mental side of the game for the rest of the series.

      Really the game of the weekend and I too noticed the diversity of the celebration in the stadium. I don’t care for the quota system but if it means the Springboks are celebrated and supported by all spectrums of society, then that can only be good for SA rugby.

      Heartwarming result for me. It’s just one result and there certainly are defensive issues but at least they closed the game out. I know how much of a bugbear it is for you Corne in terms of SA Super sides’ inability to close out games so this was a very satisfying result in that regard.

      Congrats to the SA stalwarts on the Roar. Can’t wait for next week’s game. Certainly England should be applauded for their contribution to a cracker of a game.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 4:56am
        Corne Van Vuuren said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:56am | ! Report

        Yeah kia the quota issue is a sensitive thing.

        But Rassie is committed to transformation, I think appointing Kolisi was the right move and I myself am so sick of hearing ra ial issues in South zafriva that it is important for transformation not only to take plce but to succeed, only success with silence the doubters.

        I would like to see Esterhuizen getting a shot in the midfield alongside Am, they are the Sharks combinaton after all, and know each other well.

        I watched this test with trepidaton, I really thought we were in for a hiding, after 25 minutes my worst fears were realised.

        Couldn’t believe the turn around, there must be something special brewing in the Bok camp for that turnaround to happen.

        Lets hope it is a promise of good things

    • June 11th 2018 @ 5:03am
      Danny said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:03am | ! Report

      Have to agree that the Bokke were very good, and I like a lot were writing them off when the the score started to blow out. I am real glad I kept watching as I thought it probably the best test of the weekend, and imagine all Bok’s supportere would be pretty happy. I think we all in for a very good competitive RC this year, and I personally am very happy to see what appears to be a strong Boks team.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 5:39am
      felix said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:39am | ! Report

      @Biltong yeah I think Rassie missed a trick there in the midfield,Andre can do what De Allende gives and more,lately Esterhuizen has been consistently breaking the line and putting monster hits which even the forwards have been feeling,besides Am knows him better but only 1 BUT! De Allende has a slightly better pass not in the “Beale” level of passing though.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 5:41am
        Corne Van Vuuren said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:41am | ! Report

        Worth testing felix, Esterhuizen has improved his distribution though

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