THE 37-15 test series-clinching victory against France at Kings Park Stadium on Saturday has left rugby fans excitedly pondering whether coach, Allister Coetzee, has finally turned the bend in his career as Springboks’coach.
With Siyamthanda Kolisi’s stellar performance in the Durban victory as the major talking point, rugby pundits are already convinced this is a generation of players that will help the Springboks reclaim the second best spot behind the invincible All-Blacks. The victory gave SA an unassailable two-match lead going into the dead rubber at Ellis Park this Saturday.
The Stormers’ captain inspired the Boks with a try and set up another but it was the general performance and the hunger to succeed by the whole team that has led many to believe the glory days of the Boks’ physical superiority are beckoning. With a generous sprinkling of youth amid experience, Coetzee seems to have struck the right chord in assembling his troops.
And what a way to oblige to the call for national duty!
“We did not want them to gain momentum. When we got the chance, we were quick off our feet to bury them. It feels good to win,” said Kolisi after the Durban match.
The first black Stormers skipper nailed it home when he said the victory boils down to having the right mentality.
“We wanted to stick to our systems. We just needed the right attitude. We knew what we wanted to do. We got tested a lot but we are getting to know each other and we are building a culture.”
Bok captain, Warren Whiteley, believes the team’s current purple patch is built upon a solid defence.
“Our cover defence was good, but we will have to keep our feet on the ground. We had some pressure before the Test, and we know the remaining two matches will not be easy. There will always be mistakes, but we worked hard for each other to rectify that,” he said after the first win at Loftus Stadium.
Coetzee believes the gloomy days that characterised the 2016 season have been relegated to the dustbins of history.
“2016 is behind us now, we are starting a new chapter,” said in a post-match interview after the Loftus match.
If the Boks can manage to replicate the same ruthlessness and good use of the ball they displayed at Kings Park, the days of fans packing the stands to watch their team are back.