Tri-Nations: Are the Boks on the decline?
The Springboks were comprehensively outplayed once again and suffered their third defeat in as many weeks, losing to Australia this morning by 30 points to 13.
Regular sin-binnings are becoming a feature of the South African game, and the penalty count is scuppering their chances of victory. The structured gameplan that made the Boks the best in the world was hardly seen in Brisbane, and their traditional gamebreakers like Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger appear to be some way from their best.
The flawless kicking plan, dominant set piece and impregnable defence has gone out of the window, and it’s not unfair to say that they were never in contention in this Test match.
Australia’s back row was immense, with Rocky Elsom and David Pocock both playing superbly, but the Wallabies certainly didn’t look unbeatable and the All Blacks won’t be too concerned ahead of next week.
Whilst the Kiwis and Wallabies appear to be timing their run nicely for the Rugby World Cup showing signs of improvement week on week, the Boks now return to South Africa with their squad in disarray. They’ve got a couple of weeks off to take a long hard look at themselves and try to figure out where it is all going wrong.
In my view, the lack of structure is their problem – the opposition probably deserves some credit for playing away from the Bok strengths, but the unstructured game does not suit South Africa and they need to find a way to exert control again, to play at their own pace and on their own terms. Easier said than done though, obviously.