If weather reports are to be believed, London will be plunged into the icy grip of some truly horrible weather this weekend, with the mercury not set to rise above two or maybe three degrees on Saturday. With some agencies even predicting snow for the capital on Friday or Saturday, any chance of an attractive spectacle at Twickenham would appear to have gone out the window.
For the Boks, this could be taken as either good news or bad news. On the one hand, the team picked doesn’t appear to contain the correct personnel in the appropriate configuration to produce any sort of attacking rugby anyway. You cut your coat according to your cloth, after all and I guess we’ll just have to see whether the coaches are correct in sticking to the tried-and-tested conservative selections when they really don’t have a hell of a lot to lose any more.
Problem is, exactly the same team lost last week to a weaker side (Scotland) than they will face at Twickenham, playing exactly the same rugby. It’s one thing to claim you’re picking a side that’s suited to the conditions, but those sort of statements tend to have something of a hollow ring when we’ve seen exactly how inept that side is, the moment the hands get a little stiff and the ball a little slippery.
I suppose, looking at it from an optimistic point of view, we could assume that the Boks now know EXACTLY what hey did wrong against Scotland and are actually quite fortunate to have the opportunity, in similar conditions, to put those mistakes right against England. The other slight saving grace is that the sort of 80 metre try that England showed they can score against Australia a fortnight ago is unlikely to be on the cards this time around. The hosts themselves will need to change their approach somewhat as well. Tempering that argument, though, is the fact that, like Scotland, you would expect them to have far more players who are comfortable playing rugby in freezing, wet conditions than the Boks do.
So then – I fear we are in line for more of the same from the weather and from the Boks. Dare we hope that the final scoreline will be different this time? Much has been said about “character victories” on this tour and as Bok supporters, I reckon about the best we can hope for is that the age-old desire to whip the English at any sport, whenever, wherever and however, will somehow spur them on to a close win. With a management team that seems to be at odds with itself and showing no clear direction in terms of how they want to play the game, coupled with a team containing out-of-form players in key positions, I guess that’s about all we can hope for.Tweet