Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


OPINION: Boks set the standard for 2023 with top class finish to 2022

It was on the end-of-year-tour that things really seemed to come together for the Springboks.


Brilliant wins over England and Italy have seen the Springboks now set the standard for the kind of performance and style of play that they should produce during the 2023 World Cup year. After starting their end-of-year-tour with a three point loss against Ireland in Dublin and a four point loss against France in Marseille, the Boks then turned up the heat to destroy Italy 63-21 in Genoa, before trouncing England 27-13 at Twickenham. ALSO READ: Relief for Springboks as mixed year ends with a bang at Twickenham Going into their final two matches of the year, the Boks held…

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Brilliant wins over England and Italy have seen the Springboks now set the standard for the kind of performance and style of play that they should produce during the 2023 World Cup year.

After starting their end-of-year-tour with a three point loss against Ireland in Dublin and a four point loss against France in Marseille, the Boks then turned up the heat to destroy Italy 63-21 in Genoa, before trouncing England 27-13 at Twickenham.

ALSO READ: Relief for Springboks as mixed year ends with a bang at Twickenham

Going into their final two matches of the year, the Boks held a poor record of six wins against five losses, and although they managed to raise that to eight wins, it was still a frustratingly inconsistent year from the world champs that saw them drop from first to fourth on the world rugby rankings.

However, their impressive finish to the year has stoked hopes of a tantalising prospect of things to come, if they can pick up where they left off when they get underway in mid-year next year.

Earlier in the season it almost seemed like the Boks were still trying to find their identity, as they produced a number of bland performances with their incessant kicking game, while they also mixed it up in other games to make things a lot more exciting.

Things came together

But it was on the end-of-year-tour that things really seemed to come together.

Their first game against Ireland was a disappointing one, with them again relying on their kicking game which just didn’t come off, despite a late fightback that made the result closer than it really was.

Against France it then seemed like a switch had been flipped, as the Boks looked to blend their kicking game with some exciting running rugby, that would have come off, had it not been for a few cards and dubious refereeing calls in the match.

Italy were then absolutely floored by a second half masterclass in running rugby, that saw the Boks run in seven tries, to add to two from the first half, for a nine try romp.

England were then on the receiving end of another inventive Bok performance, as they seemed caught out by a change in game plan, like they were in the 2019 World Cup final.

In all, the Boks have now set a new standard that they will be judged on by South African pundits and fans, and they will do well to continue in the same vein in the build up to their 2023 World Cup defence.

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