Glory returns to SA Rugby
Posted 23 August 2004 12:02: -
Durban was alive with eager anticipation all of last week, and on Saturday the Springboks turned the hopes and dreams of their supporters into glory, winning the Vodacom Tri Nations.
The front-page headline of the Independent on Saturday screamed “SA Sucks – Clyde” and set the tone for a very demonstrative anti-Clyde Rathbone sentiment at the game. Each time he went near the ball, or was part of the action, he was subjected to a barrage of booing and jeering. So much ill-feeling for a member of the opposition cannot be healthy, but taken in the context of the importance of the match, understandable. (!!)
There was so much riding on the game (!!), and the Springboks did not disappoint. The fact that the first points were only scored after half an hour’s play is indicative of the intense pressure of the game, and the rock-solid defense. Both goal-kickers missed their first attempts at posts–surely
a sign of nerves?
It was a pressure-cooker of a match, within an atmosphere of excitement and expectation for Jake White’s young team who had promised so much in the seven games leading up to this one. The question was, did they have it in them to deliver the final blow and bring back long-awaited glory?
The answer was the stuff of dreams, and the eruption of the crowd in monumental joy was just what the rugby doctor had ordered. (!!)
The National highway and airports on Friday had been witness to a gathering of the green mob, dedicated in their support, and very often inebriated to within a state of non compos mentis! (!!)
A cattle truck of pantechnicon (large van) proportions, sans livestock, but packed with beer-swilling Springbok rugby fanatics on it’s way to Durban from the Free State wound it’s way down the N3 bringing new meaning to the term “rugby trip”. (!!)
And they were not disappointed!
Probably a mixture of reasons: the support of 52 000 fans at the stadium, and much of the nation as well as icon Nelson Mandela, a sense of confidence that has come about from playing exciting, and successful rugby, and the knowledge that they could do it. A belief, perhaps even tacit acknowledgement that the game was theirs to be won. (!!!)
Eddie Jones also pointed to his team’s inconsistencies as a major factor behind their failure in this game. He said his team had played in the last two finals (Rugby World Cup and Tri Nations – effectively a final), and lost both simply because they had been inconsistent. They had played well for periods, but not long enough, he alluded in the after-match Media conference.
The Springboks also know how to score tries and in the final analysis, the team that scored the most tries (South Africa – 13) came first and the team that scored the least (New Zealand – 4) came last. The Springboks also scored the most points, and had the best points difference (the only positive difference of the three teams) overall. No team won away, and only home victories were recorded in all six matches.
In the Final, South Africa might have been outscored by three tries to two, but won simply because the Australians were penalised in their own half too frequently. Percy Montgomery kicked three penalties, the Aussies kicked none.
Another factor was bonus points. South Africa managed to secure bonus points in all three matches running up to this match, and thus setting themselves up for the thrilling finale when they had, for the first time since 1998, the opportunity of winning the competition.
South Africa rejoices at a time of Olympic and rugby glory.
1. to instill a sense of pride in a country that is corrupt beyond measure;
2. to whip up with a drivelling, pathetic whine, the people's sense of duty to their country
3. to once again remind them of who their god is, Mandela
4. to once again remind them of another god - sport - which is another great martryr on the altar of political agendas, who will heal their wounds
5. to remind people that South Africa is rejoicing in the face of anarchy and bloodshed
6. to say its okay to be totally out of control
7. to say its okay to 'hate' another fellow human being