No outside pressures this week … what will pump up the Boks for Durban ‘final’?

What a thrilling end to what has been a highly entertaining Rugby Championship.


Who would have thought it would come down to the last game to decide this year’s Rugby Championship winner? What a great and thrilling competition it has been. The quality of rugby hasn’t always been up there but for excitement and unpredictability it has been fantastic and I’m sure the sponsors and organisers are all happy. And what a drama-filled day lies ahead for the Springboks. For the first time in some weeks the Boks go into a Test with no outside pressure on them and we can only wonder whether this is a good thing or a bad thing?…

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Who would have thought it would come down to the last game to decide this year’s Rugby Championship winner?

What a great and thrilling competition it has been. The quality of rugby hasn’t always been up there but for excitement and unpredictability it has been fantastic and I’m sure the sponsors and organisers are all happy.

And what a drama-filled day lies ahead for the Springboks.

For the first time in some weeks the Boks go into a Test with no outside pressure on them and we can only wonder whether this is a good thing or a bad thing?

In the second Test against Australia (after losing the first) there were question marks around the tackle on Makazole Mapimpi, Nic White had made the headlines for the wrong reasons and the Boks were under huge pressure to win.

Then, in the buildup to the Argentina Test in Buenos Aires, Elton Jantjies returned home after a Sunday newspaper claimed he had been having an affair and caused problems at a guest house earlier in the competition, and then there were those rumours of players testing positive for recreational drug use.

It’s been quite a time for the Boks. And through it all they’ve soldiered on and played some darn good rugby and won.

This week though there is no additional fuel to pump them up. How will they go?

In a way they still have their backs to the wall if you consider Frans Steyn, who has only ever played one Test at flyhalf, in 2008, will be the No 10 against Argentina in Durban today.

It is a brave call by the Boks to pick Steyn at 10, but there is currently no-one else. Willie le Roux would have been the other option, but to be honest that would have been an even braver call, having never properly played at flyhalf before.

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I don’t think Steyn will play more than 50 to 60 minutes though, and then Le Roux should take over. And I think Steyn will be okay; he’s certainly going to add bulk and strength to the 10 channel and his kicking is a bonus. I’m sure we’ll see the Boks win a first 50-22 in the competition in this game.

The other change to the Bok starting team is at flank where Franco Mostert is replaced by Pieter-Steph du Toit. It’s a bit of a surprise for me considering how well Mostert has played of late … he’s certainly changed my opinion of him as a blindside flanker.

But, I also know the management will be keen to get Du Toit back to his best, and the only way he will do that is by playing.

It’s also good to see Bongi Mbonambi back. I feel a bit for Joseph Dweba and Deon Fourie, I would have liked to see them go again on home soil, but that’s how it goes.

Boks v Pumas Bongi Mbonambi
Bongi Mbonambi is back in the Bok squad. Picture: Getty Images

After battling to make the most of their dominance in the middle part of the competition, the Boks have finally come good in that regard and have recently been able to convert their pressure into points. And they will need to do the same in Durban on Saturday if they’re to get the desired result.

The big question now is, can they do it for 80 minutes and truly show how ruthless they can be? With the bench Jacques Nienaber has picked, they have to go out there and dominate for the full match.

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