Kiwi journalist Mark Hinton writes that the Springboks in their current guise are impostors and the All Blacks will have a no trouble negotiating them.
Hinton, writing on www.stuff.co.nz, is forthright in his view that Saturday’s Test in Wellington is ‘…another glorified trial against opponents of limited ability.’ He says the Blacks’ management see the Test as an opportunity to give fringe players a run against a severely understrength side.
He writes: ‘Never mind what [Peter de Villiers] says this week, this is a team full of tackle dummies, few of whom will see the light of the World Cup from anywhere but their couches.
‘Last week in Sydney showed clearly that this is not a competitive outfit a la the Boks at full strength. That group has their feet up and their reputations intact back in the republic.
‘This one has far too many limitations in the pack and far too much greenness around the gills to put the frighteners on either the Wallabies or All Blacks.
‘This is a South African side serving its own purpose. To allow the heavy-hitters to catch their breath ahead of the real skirmishes looming in September and October.’
He also celebrates the belief that Henry has finally seemed to grasp the concept of managing his team to peak when needed in a World Cup year.
‘Smart teams use Tests – even Tri-Nations ones – to serve their purposes in World Cup year. Smart teams mix it up a little and find a few key things out ahead of the big one. Smart teams understand it’s all about playing at your best later, not sooner. I think Henry now realises that. He hasn’t always; but he does now.’
Read the full column here.