Former Springboks Naas Botha and Joel Stransky could find no positive at all in the Springboks 49-0 thrashing by the Wallabies in Brisbane.
“At the moment there is nothing which we can even say that at least we can build on that,” Botha lamented on Boots&All. The staggering collapse from revitalised rugby superpower to laughing stock has been swift. Three weeks’ ago the Boks were No 2 in the world, now they are 4th and in danger of continuing the free fall.
Stransky suggested perhaps it was the injuries that had caused the problem, but on reflection they could find only three players who were missing from the best possible starting XV. “At the end of the day we are not missing 20 players, it’s just three – Schalk Burger, Bakkies Botha and Jean de Villiers,” said Botha.
Said Stransky: “Since Jake White came in he has built up a team on culture and history and passion and tradition. He has re-installed all those great values which have made them a strong team. Those boys played for Jake White and had faith in him and for the Springbok emblem, for everyone in the country. The fact that Jake then appeared to abandon them probably broke the spirit of the team.”
The fact that since the news of White’s possible departure to England first broke, the Boks have been humbled 36-26 at Newlands by France and then completely humiliated by Australia in Brisbane, simply adds weight to Stransky’s argument.
Botha focussed on the immediate problems in the game: “We can’t score tries, in fact we didn’t even look like scoring tries. And the whole time we are going about how the forwards must dominate. The forwards aren’t even in the game,” Botha siad.
The task that awaits the Boks in Wellington is huge and nobody – perhaps even the team themselves – give them a chance of getting close.
By Andrew Hollely