Paterson: Boks pride is back
7 Jun 2006
Under Jake White the Springboks have returned to their rightful place on the world rugby ladder, says Scotland fullback Chris Paterson.
When the Scots toured South Africa in 2003, veteran Gregor Townsend was reported as saying the Boks had lost their invincible aura at home. The Scots honestly felt they could beat the Boks on home soil. It caused a massive uproar, with Bok management clearly incensed at the thought.
But the ensuing two-Test series proved those comments were not far off the truth, despite the Boks winning 2-0. It is unlikely the same will occure this time round.
The Boks had to come back from a 25-12 deficit with 20 minutes remaining to burgle a win in the first Test in Durban. In the series decider at Ellis Park a week later, the Scots led 16-12 at the break, before the Boks fought back again to win 28-19.
A lot has changed though. â€œThe difference between the Test series in 2003 and our match at Murrayfield in 2004 was massive,â€ Paterson told keo.co.za.
The Scots who had triumphed 21-6 in Edinburgh in 2002, were confident especially after the encouraging result in South Africa the previous year.
But the Boks hammered the Scots 45-10, quite possibly a backlash from the 32-16 defeat by England at Twickenham, to bury the ghosts of 2002.
â€œJake has done a great job with the Springboks, taking them from 6th in the world to No 2. And they were the only team to beat New Zealand last year.â€
Paterson dismissed the Boks struggle against the World XV, saying the team that will contest the two-Test series will be full of experienced heads, with all the right qualities.
And Scotland is no longer cannon-fodder as they displayed in their gritty wins over England and France in this yearsâ€™ Six Nations. The last time the Boks beat England was in the 1999 World Cup quarter-final in Paris. A concerted team effort will be required to thwart this Scottish challenge nontheless.
By Andrew Hollely