I write this with tears of joy coursing down my cheeks. Ok, not really but I did break out a little jig after the game and I’m sure that, amongst the multitude of suffering Bok fans, there was a tear or two of happiness shed after witnessing a return to the long forgotten days when men were men and the ball was passed…not kicked 40 rows into the grandstand!
Heyneke Meyer may not realise it yet but the age of Goosen has arrived! Morne Steyn is going to have to add a running game to his arsenal to unseat Goosen or to even make the bench. Elton Jantjies had a brief cameo but handled himself superbly and displayed the same level of calm and poise as the man he replaced. Not since 1998 have I seen a Bok backline run the ball with such confidence and flair. Everything that I had asked for was on show tonight:
1. The use of dummy runners
2. The use of offloads in the tackle (from backs and forwards)
3. A gameplan where the players are free to play what’s in front of them and don’t have to kick everything!
4. The use of an inside ball every now and then to a player running an angle
5. A flyhalf who isn’t afraid to run the ball and who creates space for his outside backs
On an individual basis, Habana may have officially got the Man of the Match award but I feel that Ruan Pienaar was by far the best back on the field for the Boks tonight! He took control of the game and showed what he is capable of when allowed to play his natural game. His service was crisp and quick and he cleared the ball from the rucks very quickly which kept the Boks on the front foot. His goal kicking was a bit wayward but for a first outing in this department for the season it wasn’t abysmal and will improve.
Jean De Villiers is another who had his best game of the season and showed two things. Firstly, he is an INSIDE CENTRE! And secondly, he operates far more efficiently and is more of a threat when playing alongside a flyhalf who passes him the ball and creates space for him before passing!
The forwards must get special mention as a collective for a dominant showing at the rucks and I felt that the Aussies were allowed to get away with murder occasionally by the ref as they left their feet more than once at ruck time but were seldom penalised!!
All in all, it was a very good showing by the Boks and I can’t wait for next week. The bar has been set at a far higher height and let’s hope that the Boks keep raising it!Tweet