Well, this past week has really been a week of hibernation for me and the family as we welcomed our latest arrival to our family and the miserable weather forced us to stay indoors!
BJ Botha writes exclusively for iAfrica.com/sport365.
My mother-in-law arrived last week as well, but she has been forced to spend most of that time indoors because of the cold, which compared to the sunny weather in Durban was a bit of a shock for her I think.
This time spent indoors has given us a great opportunity for to bond as a family and for Taryn and me to become accustomed to parenthood.
As any parent would tell you it is a surreal experience and one that no book or video could ever prepare you for emotionally and physically in an unbelievable way. Even though she is only two weeks old, I think she has already got daddy wrapped around her little finger.
With no chance of going outside for any outing it was also great to have my family with me as I put my feet up and enjoyed some of the Test rugby over the weekend, combining that with a great Bok victory over the Poms.
It was really a great result for us against England and how we achieved it. I thought the saying “defence wins big games” was a testament to how we played and never let them in the game. We then topped it off with some very well worked tries which will give us confidence as we set our eyes on next year’s Lions series. And, of course, pulling off a record winning margin — by any team at Twickenham — made the victory even sweeter.
I really thought England were poor in a lot of areas in their game but then again when a side is under pressure they make mistakes and we took any opportunity presented to us with both hands.
It also didn’t help England that they had a lot of inexperience in vital positions. Such as the halfback pairing of Danny Cipriani and Danny Care, who if I am correct have a combined of nine Tests caps between them, whereas Ruan Pienaar and Ricky Januarie have something like 60 caps between them!
This will be something they will have to improve on if they want to run with the big dogs!
In the end it was a great victory for us, as any win at Twickenham is, and to win like that was fantastic. You could see how important the win was for the guys, particularly for some of the senior players like Victor Matfield who has never won there before, and while Wales are still the Six Nations champions you always felt that in the back of their minds, England was seen as the big match on this tour.
Personally, I am not sure what the plan for England is at the moment, and it is clear there are lots of problems, but I can’t understand why they are still sticking with players who probably won’t be around in four years’ time.
With the press and media pressure and the supporter’s expectations heavily weighing on the team and coach’s shoulders it is not going to get any easier as they face up to the All Blacks this weekend, who now have only England standing in there way of a clean sweep of the British Isles.
The Lions are coming
With the Boks returning home with a clean sheet all the focus will now turn to the British and Irish Lions tour next year. And it will be interesting to see how the Lions squad shapes up.
I think with a number of nations not shaping up there are going to be huge opportunities for players to put there hands up during the Six Nations. However, I think a couple of players have already got some of the selectors talking. Number eight Andy Powell has had a great series for Wales and really performed well against the Springboks and the All Blacks. Danny Care, the nuggety little scrumhalf for England even though he is relatively new to Test match rugby, is a great prospect and he was one of the only players to challenge the South African defence on the weekend.
That said, if things stay as they are I think Wales and Ireland will still provide the core of the squad with the remaining two nations making up the numbers.
The captaincy will also be an interesting selection, but personally I think it will be a toss-up between Wales skipper Ryan Jones and Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll. I just can’t see the captain coming from any of the other nations because any player who is experienced enough to do the job, is simply out of form…
But no matter what the make-up of the squad is, the Lions will be arriving in South African next year with a huge amount of expectation, not only from themselves but their massive support base as well. And with the knowledge that their last tour – of New Zealand — was a poor one, they will be looking to bounce back from that.
They have appointed one of the most successful coaches in the world of rugby, Ian McGeechan, and the feeling over here is that they hope for a repeat of 1997 — when they beat the Boks 2-1 in the series.
But the Lions will have the odds stacked up against them. They will be playing two of the three Tests at altitude and coming up against tough competition in the midweek games.
The Lions, of course, will provide a number of threats across the park; they have such a huge depth of players from which to choose; but in my opinion they do not have a chance of a series win and the Boks will simply be too strong in all three Tests against them next year.