Boks fans speak out

Friday, September 9, 2011
Kemantha Govender

Durban - The Springboks have had a turbulent Tri-Nations tournament but fans are still convinced they have what it takes to defend the Rugby World Cup.

South Africa, in pursuit of back-to-back World Cup titles, will become the first country to do so, should they pick up the William Webb Ellis for the third time.

Fans strongly feel that Australia and New Zealand remain the biggest threats to South Africa's campaign. The Boks find themselves in Group D with Namibia, Wales, Samoa and Fiji.

"I think that they have the spirit to do their best and play with all of their hearts, therefore, they will do very well. They have the support of their country," said Krishnee Dilrajh, a fan from Durban.

Financial analyst *Met Uys feels as long as South Africa can avoid New Zealand, the Boks will reach the final.

"We have a realistic chance to reach the semi-finals. In fact, anything less than the semi-finals will be deemed a failure for the Springboks. A semi-final is the minimum and depending on who we face, we could go all the way.

"Our forwards' ability to dominate and carry the ball forward, laying the platform for the backs to use the ball will bode well for us. Our defensive structures, line-outs, scrums and ability to slot a penalty from just about anywhere on the field will also help us win games," said Uys.

Sports blogger Shaun Stander said: "One of two things will happen, either we lose to the All Blacks in the semi-finals or we will go all the way and make history by being the 1st team to defend their title."

Boks fan Wayne Nymana's view differs. "They are in are in a very interesting pool. However, I do think they will make it past the pool stages. From a pure rugby perspective, I don't see them going past the quarter finals.

"This is a very experienced team, with a very dominant pack. Depending on the weather conditions, this can be an asset, as they play a very forward orientated game," said Nymana.

Pretoria based accountant Johann Pollard is convinced South Africa will win the World Cup, but New Zealand is the team to stand in their way.

"Our experience and the fact that the team has done it before is a great strength but if our forwards gets dominated, we'll struggle to win the big games," said Pollard.

Experience, kicking strength and winning line-outs are some of the reasons that convince fans the Boks have what it takes to bring home the coveted trophy. 

Stander believes the Boks defence will strengthen their game. "I also believe another strength will be our forwards with players like Brussow (Henrich) and Burger (Schalk) standing out. I think if they utilise them correctly, they will be devastating. Our other strength will be the line-outs and set pieces." 

Andre van Wyk, a diesel mechanic from Windhoek, said the South Africa's opening match against Wales is the most important one for them in the tournament.

"If they lose against Wales, it will be a very long tournament for the Boks. If they win pretty and comfortably against Wales, then I look forward to the other games and [the Boks] stand a good chance to get far into the World Cup.

"Their strengths are the physicality of the forwards to carry the ball over the advantage line. The line-outs of the Boks should be an advantage. The wingers are also a strength, especially Bryan Habana. His defence was excellent in Port Elizabeth. Morne Steyn's goal kicking will be a major advantage for the Boks," said Van Wyk.

But Uys warned that the South African backline's inability to penetrate and create gaps in the defence could be costly.

"Our first time tackles are not 100%. We miss too many first time tackles. Our average tackling for the past Tri-Nations was about 70%, whereas New Zealand and Australia were lying on about 90%," said Uys.

Stander said that South Africa has to adapt to a changing game plan and create more try scoring opportunities.

"The Boks can be very predictable, especially when they attack... The other weakness is the lack of attack in the back line. The speed the ball travels through the hands is too slow. The backline players must also not run into spaces," added Van Wyk.

South Africa has been privileged to be led by captain John Smit and vice captain Victor Matfield. 
According to Dilrajh, the Boks' strength lies in their leadership.

"One of their strengths is their captain John Smit, who is great leader and you can see that the team is in good hands. The vice captain, Victor Matfield, is also a great player and leader, and it is not often you get great leadership in a captain -- let alone from both the captain and vice captain," she said.

Dilrajh added: "I just love the team and enjoying it and supporting my country. The soccer world cup was a blast and brought South Africans together. I am hoping for the same vibe or a similar one." - BuaNews

*Name changed

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