Sport / Columnists

Jon Swift
3 minute read
12 Sep 2017
4:33 pm

Boks will be biltong if they kick like that against Kiwis

Jon Swift

'The Bok management need to have a thorough look at the videos and a serious rethink before they face the All Blacks.'

Jon Swift

There was an underlying current of something approaching anguish as the Springboks had to settle for a a 23-23 Rugby Championship draw with Australia in Perth; it was as if the impetus the South African side had brought to their rugby renaissance had collapsed into a fast fading memory.

This joint angst was clearly etched on the brow of the Arithmetically-challenged Golfer – the self-styled expert on all sporting matters within the usual gathering – and while his outpourings are usually greeted with more than enough salt to deaden even the most sour flavour of disappointment from inflamed taste buds, this time he made some sense.

“Apart from calling the front rows together to tell them ‘We have had five scrums and four of them have been rubbish’, New Zealand referee Glen Jackson had very little else to commend his control of the game,” the Arithmetically-challenged One contended. “It took him several iffy Wallaby lineouts before he decided on one that was indeed ‘rubbish’ and finally pinned them for a crooked throw.

“But you can’t blame the ref entirely, even if my personal opinion is he was rubbish. There were far more serious things to worry about from a Bok perspective.”

This promised a serious finger-pointing to come, and with the experience of any number of diatribes to call on, the gathering sat back to await developments, which were not long coming. “You have to question what was going through the minds of the Bok management in the gameplan they had put together. The attack was lying too deep to make any real dent on the gain-line and played right into Aussie hands.

“There must also be a question mark hanging over what instructions Elton Jantjies was given before he ran out. Yes, he kicked five out of six for an 83% return – despite one dreadfully sliced at tempt – and has finally started to tackle as if he means it. “But you expect kickers to kick their goals. And to be as effective with ball out of hand.

“Elton is one of those instinctive flyhalves who can win you a game on his own and on his day. He doesn’t shine anything like as brightly when he plays to orders. And you have to question a number of things about what is probably his most mediocre display in Springbok colours.

“Playing for territory is always a questionable tactic. And continually putting the ball way down- field and straight into the waiting arms of players like Israel Folau, Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale – far and away the most fearsome members of the Wallaby backline – and allow them to build up the momentum and space to run it 40m back at you, is clearly not an option with a whole lot of merit.

“It all seemed to unsettle Jantjies and you could argue was behind him missing touch from a penalty, failing to make the 10m line from a kick-off and having a desperate late drop goal attempt that could have sealed the match, charged down. The Bok management need to have a thorough look at the videos and a serious rethink before they face the All Blacks.”

It all made some sense. But the downside was that the debate had seriously delayed the braai and by the time the first chops and wors were ready, the Arithmetically-challenged One had imbibed to the degree where he had started to speak underwater hieroglyphics and was making no sense at all.