i take back about what i said about that coloured cat, he did us proud yesterday because of the quota system it makes it hard for coloured players because if they don't preform well the whole country thinks they got in because of their colour & we don't want to be known as weak links in the team we want to be known as the best in the team
Seldom has a stadium announcement sounded as glorious as it did at the Stade de France in Paris on Friday night. “Souss Africa, Sirty-seex; Eengland neel!”
Emulating the team of 1999 John Smit’s class of 2007 gave an immense Rugby World Cup performance in the French capital to stack up a 36-0 victory that was more emphatic than even the boldest of their fans might have hoped.
With Fourie du Preez stamping himself as the best scrumhalf in world rugby the Boks sent out a blazing message to rest of the contenders as they claimed the inside lane en route to winning their pool in the quest for an easier quarterfinal.
Apart from a period late in the second half (with the game already won) when Martin Corry’s men dominated possession and territory the Boks were never really extended in shutting out a shabby England.
They rose magnificently above the setback of losing Schalk Burger at the start of the week (albeit against an England side who had to endure even more problems) in what must surely be their best performance on foreign soil since early in 2004 when Jake White stepped onto the bridge of a listing ship and set sail for a distant Coupe du Monde
in France in 2007.
The South Africans were coldly focused, clinical in execution and unwaveringly composed as they set about blasting England’s sweet chariot right off the park.
Corry had talked about winning the collisions but against faster, stronger and more determined opponents his side were never in it.
Not only did the Boks dominate the contact situations but with Bakkies Botha turning in his best performance for some while and with Victor Matfield dominating the landscape like a pair of Eiffel Towers they had a wonderful platform in the lineouts, were always more explosive in the tackle, quicker to the turnovers.
The only thing that will rankle is losing a tighthead against the England eight; and perhaps also not getting the satisfaction of taking a bonus point of a team who until very recently were their tormentors .
The Boks’ early domination seemed almost too good to be true and one wondered whether the tension of the long build-up to this match would constrict their attacking nous.
But it was a fleeting thought. In the sixth minute Botha rose to win a front-end lineout ball on his own 10m line, Du Preez worked the short side to JP Pietersen who sped clear before sending the ball back to the scrumhalf and when he was hemmed in he jinked infield before popping the ball up for a charging Juan Smith to carry over the line.
Montgomery added the conversion and soon kicked a penalty to get the score to double figures. With the Boks playing from left-to-right in front of me their dominance was such that I seemed to spend the rest of the half hunched forward to see passed a steel pole that obscured my view of the England 22.
The impression that the Boks were quicker, stronger, keener never wavered and a chance went abegging in the 21st minute when sharp reflexes by Du Preez, who quickly kicked a penalty into unguarded open spaces behind the England line, caused the ball to bounce kindly for Jaque Fourie -- only for him to lose the sphere as he was hit by Josh Lewsey in his lunge for the line.
With the Boks having a distinct advantage kicking the ball out of hand, the like of Du Preez and Percy Montgomery making Mike Catt and some of the other England kickers look like inept beginners, but it seemed they might let the chance slip to have the game wrapped up by halftime.
However, that thought soon evaporated as Montgomery’s smooth two-step took them to 13-0 before the unrelenting pressure told on the English.
Du Preez it was who again cracked the whip as he quickly countered with turnover ball, sprinted up to fullback Jason Robinson and neatly let the ball go to JP Pietersen cruising clear on the outside. The conversion made it 20-0 at the break and, in truth, that was it -- you could not see a demoralised England outfit coming back from there.
Smit’s men kept their intense focus after the re-start, using the high ball to great effect, and maintaining the field position to allow Montgomery to kick two more penalties. (26-0).
These were primal tactics, causing the brave Jason Robinson such a torrid time that he left the field bleeding and in pain when his hamstring finally gave way as he tried to spark life into his shell-shocked teammates, but they were what was needed to close out the game.
And the coup de grace
was inevitably delivered as a crooked lineout gave the Boks a scrum from which the ball spun into centre-field to a crash-balling Francois Steyn. The ball was rucked back quickly and Du Preez looped back from whence it had come, broke clear, and again presented JP Pietersen with a try on a plate.
Montgomery, who kicked all seven his place-kicks for a contribution of 18 points, did the rest and not a soul in the 79 900-strong crowd would quibble that the Springboks are very real contenders to lift the Webb Ellis Cup given the way they demolished the current holders.
At the end the Springboks went a lap of honour that was more an expression of gratitude for the ardent support of their fans, who might have been outnumbered but provided an unceasing crescendo of support. The dream is crystallising, taking a tangible shape, one has a feeling it won’t be the last time the Boks go from end to end to wave to the crowd at this venue.