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Pre-Match - South Africa vs Argentina (30 October 2015)

Stefan Terblanche 30/10/2015

It’s fresh and wet in London and winter is just starting to show itself. One could be forgiven for not remembering the hustle and bustle of this huge city when coming from laid-back and sometimes just plain slow Durban on the sunny East Coast of Southern Africa. In some areas, most Londoners are oblivious to the fact that the Rugby World Cup final will take place tomorrow afternoon right on their doorstep and not even mentioning the 3rd and 4th place play-off this evening between the Boks and Los Pumas from Argentina.

I have been asked this question many times this week of what exactly the purpose is of this presumably dead rubber for a 3rd and 4th place, not only at Rugby World Cups but at all other major team sporting events in the world, is all about. Please bear in mind that it is incredibly hard to get yourself physically and more importantly psychologically in the right frame of mind after a disappointing defeat for both teams in a tough semi-final 6 days ago. I had the opportunity to play in this very same game at the Rugby World Cup in 1999 and for me it was yet another opportunity to represent my country, to wear the Springbok jersey and to do so against the All Blacks made it even more special for me. We won that game by the way and took home the bronze medal for all our efforts and hard work but do these play-off games serve any purpose and will these 2 teams arrive in the right frame of mind to put their bodies on the line once again?

Personally, I think the Springboks will be desperate to get a positive result. They have had a tough Rugby World Cup and will be looking to give themselves and their loyal supporters something to cheer about. A lot of the players in this team will more than likely make their last appearance in a Bok jersey and they will be keen to add another accolade and achievement to some of their very impressive trophy cabinets. A bronze medal at a Rugby World Cup may not seem like much at this stage of the competition but it is still a major achievement regardless of what some people might say.

Heyneke Meyer, the Bok coach has been and will be under immense pressure not only tonight but when back in South Africa and putting forward his bid to continue as Bok coach taking us into the next World Cup in 2019. If rumours from a very reliable source are anything to go by Meyer can sign his 4-year extension whenever he is ready to do so. After the performance of the Boks at this year’s Rugby World Cup this process will not just be as easy as that and many would like to see a full report not only of Meyer’s Rugby World Cup but also the Boks overall performance under Meyer in the last few years. Will a victory tonight suffice to keep Meyer in his job for the next 4 years? Only time will tell but I believe that tonight’s game should be taken out of the equation when assessing his overall performance as Bok coach.

So we have a desperate coach, some hungry older players keen to add some more trophies to their cabinets and ending their careers on a high, some hungry youngsters ready to die for that jersey every time they wear it, a wet field and an Argentinian team disrupted by injuries. This should be an easy call to make then and we can all call an easy and comfortable Bok victory - this is exactly what I am going for but please bear in mind that an easy and comfortable victory is not always determined by a big point’s difference. Often you can win comfortably with scores quite tight. I think that is exactly what the case will be tonight for the Boks.

We off course have a massive final taking place tomorrow between our arch rivals Australia and New Zealand without a doubt the best 2 teams at this year’s tournament. I will give you my thoughts and perspective on how I think that game will pan out in a few hours.

For now it’s off the closest coffee shop for some much needed refreshment in a chilly London.

Let your passion drive this team.

Stefan

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Match Report - South Africa vs New Zealand (24 October 2015)

Stefan Terblanche 26/10/2015

It has taken me 2 days of quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) reflection on not only Saturday’s game against the All Blacks but on the whole Springbok Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign to get over it all. I am still not fully over the disappointment, but I am old and ugly enough, and should be fine come the next Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan!

It was one of those games on Saturday against the old enemy, the All Blacks where the balance and outcome was in question till the very last moment of an enthralling 80 minutes of rugby - and that’s exactly what Test rugby should be all about. I did say before the game that a result in favour of the Boks would be an upset but after the 1st half, I phoned my family, WhatsApped my friends and told them to switch off their TVs, that the game was all but over, the Boks would win. I was that confident after an impressive 1st half from the Boks. I have not seen the All Blacks under that much pressure for years, making mistakes and moaning at the referee at every occasion. How wrong was I, and the disappointment afterwards was clear for all to see on my face.

I was, as mentioned above, very disappointed about the result, don’t get me wrong. But I was more disappointed at the experience aplenty in this Bok team that didn’t pull this one through for us. For many months and even years, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has been telling us that experience will win the Rugby World Cup for us in 2015, thus his selection of older players. Personally, I thought that leading the All Blacks 12-7 at the break and in a Rugby World Cup semi-final was the perfect place and opportunity for this experience to come to the fore and win this crucial game for us all. Did experience lose it for the Boks, or did the All Blacks win it with their own experience, style of play and streetwise attitude to rugby as a whole? I think it was a bit of both, with the Boks lack of creativity adding not only to this result but also to the Boks results during the last 18 months of Test rugby.

It has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that defense alone can’t win you tough competitions like Super Rugby, the European Cup and now the Rugby World Cup. 80 minutes is a long time on a rugby field and for long periods of play you will have the ball in your possession, what you do with the ball while you have it plays a major role in the outcome of the game. It was first seen a few years back that the New Zealand teams kept the ball and created absolute havoc in defense for opposing teams. It is hard to run the ball for long periods of play, but trust me when I say that it is much harder to defend for the same number of minutes. Two years ago the New South Wales Waratahs won the Super Rugby competition under the current Wallaby coach, Michael Cheika for the first time with a fast and furious approach to attacking rugby. This style of play is now clear and very visible in international teams like Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Argentina, New Zealand and the Wallabies. Unfortunately, the Boks have not taken this approach and because of this we are falling behind world-leading teams in creating opportunities and scoring points through tries. Two of the abovementioned teams will compete for the William Webb Ellis Trophy on Saturday and it comes as no surprise to most rugby supporters. The winner of this game will also be the 1st team to win this coveted trophy 3 times and the All Blacks could become the 1st team ever to defend their title.

We talk about passion and pride when it comes to our national rugby team, the Springboks but that goes without saying. The players will bring that to the rugby pitch every time they pull that special green and gold jersey over their heads. It is the responsibility of the coach and his coaching team to equip the players with a game plan and a style of play that can win international Test matches.

Losing in a Springbok jersey is never an option even when playing the All Blacks, but we can accept Saturday’s defeat and hold our heads up high. In saying that I feel that our national team can be so much better, with all the talent we have in this country, and that if we managed and coached them well we should be able to consistently beat the best and at Rugby World Cups. That was the most disappointing part for me, not Saturday’s result.

Let your passion drive this team.

Stefan

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Pre-Match - South Africa vs New Zealand (24 October 2015)

Stefan Terblanche 23/10/2015

No more ifs and no more buts, this is it! One missed tackle in defense or one pass too early or a millisecond too late in attack and it could mean the difference between winning and losing, lifting the trophy or being labelled as an “also ran” at RWC 2015. I am not quite sure if the rugby public fully comprehends what is really at stake tomorrow when the Boks face the All Blacks. I mean this in the nicest possible way and no disrespect to the rugby public but let me explain. For many players this will be the biggest game in their rugby playing careers to date. I think of Jessie Kriel, Lood de Jager and Damian De Allande. For some, this might even be the biggest game they will play…ever. Rugby World Cups only come along every 4 years and some of the world’s best players and rugby hall of famers will never ever have the opportunity to get their hands on that trophy, Christian Cullen, Justin Marshall to name but a few. This is HUGE!

Tomorrow the Boks are facing the best team in the world, without a doubt. The All Blacks have been consistently occupying the number one position in World Rugby rankings for the last decade and since they were crowned in 2011 as Rugby World Cup winners in New Zealand, they have only lost 4 odd games in 4 years. That in itself is an impressive statistic. Just looking at the above-mentioned paragraph and you don’t need to be a rugby expert to work out what the Boks are well and truly up against it tomorrow. It gets worse!

Going into this game and into the Rugby World Cup, the Boks have been far from impressive in installing the belief in us all supporting them through thick and thin. Going onto the Rugby World Cup, the Boks only won 2 of their last 6 games and the road during RWC 2015 has been very rocky indeed. We have shown some progress and improvement after the Japanese debacle but last weekend against a deleted Welsh team we only just managed to pull through.

On the other side of the pitch we have seen a team on the rise during the tournament even though pushed and sometimes tested early in the tournament by the likes of Argentina and Tonga during the 1st half of that game. Last weekend, the All Blacks literally wiped the floor with their bogey team and made a statement as big as our beloved President’s house at Nkandla. The French were sent packing on the early Eurostar back to France and the world took notice and stood in awe of a brutal yet finely finessed performance from the All Blacks machine.

In saying this, I think that last weekend’s results and the way in which it came about in both quarter-finals mentioned above was the best possible results and process for the Boks. They had to work really hard to get a result and now they know exactly what it will take to win a game during the knockout stages at this year’s Rugby World Cup. Looking back and we realise that the Boks have been playing knockout rugby since week 2 after the slip up against Japan in week 1. The only thing that keeps on changing is obviously the opposition.

For the All Blacks, it just happened against the French who should have just stayed in the changing room after the half time break. As brilliant and as entertaining as the French can be, they were equally as bad and sometimes bordering embarrassment and non-commitment. Losing is one thing but not being committed to die for the cause is unforgiving and tells a story far deeper than just what you saw on the rugby field. We can discuss this another time.

So how do we beat this All Blacks machine and is it possible at all? From a rugby and form point of view there are very few, if any indicators pointing to a Springbok victory. In terms of form, style of play and creating opportunities, the Boks are way off the pace. Throw into that equation the kicking away of possession to an All Black back 3 of Smith, Savea and Milner-Skudder and we should pray to Eskom for some load shedding at 5pm tomorrow and save us all from the massacre about to take place at Twickenham.

Hang on… It’s a semi-final of a Rugby World Cup, the Boks are firm underdogs and we are facing the old enemy for another epic encounter. When you look at this way, you will see that form counts for nothing, past results count for nothing and it only comes down to belief, sheer guts and determination to decide the result. Trust me when I say that there will be plenty of that on the pitch from both sides come kick-off at 5pm tomorrow afternoon. Who wants and, more importantly, who believes it the most will get the result in this game. Hang onto your seats!

Let your passion drive this team.

Stefan.

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Match Report - South Africa vs Wales (17 October 2015)

Stefan Terblanche 20/10/2015

Wow! That was way too close for comfort against the Welsh in the 1st quarter-final this last weekend. It was the perfect start to what was a scintillating weekend of rugby and it came down to the last kick of the last quarter-final to determine who would be the last semi-finalist. In terms of entertainment value and quality of play, I can honestly say that the Rugby World Cup 2015 has been the best one ever!

The Welsh started like a house on fire and if it wasn’t for their poor execution and one or two desperate try-saving tackles from the Boks, the result could have been a whole lot worse. It took the Boks till the 74th minute to break down the Welsh defense and only through the individual brilliance of Duanne Vermeulen and a reverse back flip pass to seal the victory. The Welsh outsmarted and outplayed us tactically for most of the game and obviously had a clear and very particular game plan. They executed it very well most of the time and had the lead with 6 minutes to go. We all know that a game of rugby is 80 minutes long and thank goodness for that but in a quarter-final of a Rugby World Cup you need to play and, more importantly, concentrate for the whole 80 minutes.

A lot of people are very concerned about the performance of the Boks and some for very good reason. This Welsh team was massively disrupted with some terrible injuries but somehow found the guts and determination to match the Boks blow for blow. Some will say that if you can’t handle this Welsh team you will have some serious issues going into a semi-final and I will touch on that later in the week. I think we all know who the Boks will face in the semi-finals.

Let’s forget about the Boks performance from a rugby point of view and firstly, let’s congratulate them for making the final 4 teams and extending their stay at this year’s competition. Not many would have given them any hope of reaching the latter stages of this year’s tournament after round 1 and many of the current Rugby World Cup squad did say that it’s been the hardest few weeks of their Bok careers after that shock defeat to Japan.

I, for one, am delighted that the William Webb Ellis Trophy will stay in the Southern Hemisphere with the 3 other semi-finalists: All Blacks, Wallabies and Pumas all from down south. It shows that rugby in the Southern Hemisphere is still very good and healthy, and that we still have the talent and the teams to be called the best in the world. I do agree that rugby in the Northern Hemisphere has shown tremendous improvement but please bear in mind that many of the top Southern Hemisphere players do play their rugby for clubs North of the Equator. It strengthens their club scene tremendously but like with English soccer and the British Premier League it allows for one of the strongest club competitions in the world but it is often not the best for rugby and in this case soccer for the local players. This is never more adamant then when playing international test matches – another debate for another day.

I think we can all breath again for a while after another nail-biting weekend of rugby and can leave our Bok supporters jerseys out the cupboard for at least the next 2 weeks – win or lose and the Boks will still be involved in 2 more games bearing in mind that there will also be a 3rd and 4th play-off game the Friday night before the final. Let’s forget about that for now and let’s weather ourselves for another rugby storm against the All Blacks at Twickenham this coming Saturday. In rugby terms, it doesn’t come any bigger than this. I will look at arguably the biggest rugby rivalry in the world later in the week.

Let your passion drive this team.

Stefan.

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Pre-Match - South Africa vs Wales (17 October 2015)

Stefan Terblanche 15/10/2015

It’s really been a whirlwind last couple of weeks for us all and I can hardly believe that we are down to the last 8 and starting with the knock-out stages of Rugby World Cup 2015. I think that we would all agree that this year’s World Cup has been the best to date and that the tournament certainly lived it to the hype and excitement prior to kick-off. With crowd attendances smashing previous records, upsets on the field and many injuries and suspensions I can honestly say that rugby has well and truly arrived as a world class sport in terms of entertainment and organization and the game’s global appeal is growing by the day.

If we look at the teams all vying for Rugby World supremacy there are hardly any real surprises in the final 8 remaining in the competition. A lots been said before about England’s chances and that they must be one of the firm favourites to win the Rugby World Cup on home soil. To be fair and honest to the point and I, along with many other can’t really and I know it is easy looking back, understand of where all this hype came from apart from home ground advantage. Apart from Japan I am very happy with the quarter finalist. Japan might not be there yet to consistently compete with the big 8 but they have been the best coached team at this year’s competition. Japan really work with they have available in players, they have a certain game plan and strategy and they execute that to near perfection. Well done Eddie Jones and your team, it’s been a pleasure to watch and I’ve learned so much from a Tier 2 nation during the last 6 weeks – who would have thought.

So that brings us to the final 8 and we will look specifically to The Boks facing the injury ravaged Wales on Saturday. I begged Heyneke to select the best possible team and to allow the form players to pull this one through for us with the Welsh Dragon breathing fire all tournament long. He has done just that and I honestly believe that he might just have won not only the game but also a place in the final with this specific team and the selection thereof.

We have had the experience debate all Rugby World Cup long now but again that we have more than enough experience in that team to go all the way. Between Bryan Habana and Fourie Du Preez alone we have almost the same number of caps as the whole Rudolf Straueli team in Rugby World Cup 2003. I think we will be ok in the experience department for this one.

The Welsh have lost 6 of their starting line-up before and during this tournament through injury. I know that the Bok players will not be fooled by this statistic and that’s exactly the way it should be. As spectators and supporters we can look at these numbers and think that it should make a difference to the performance of The Welsh. Imagine The Boks losing 6 players from their starting line-up and having to face Wales on Saturday with that team. In saying this we must remember that Wales did not lose them all in one go and that gave the newcomers to the team some time to settle in. Wales have done exceptionally well under circumstances and they will push The Boks hard again on Saturday in the quarter finals but it will be one bridge too far for these brave men to cross. I have played rugby and lived in Wales for 4 years and I know what this sport means not only to the players but to this small nation west of England. I absolutely love them, adore them and owe them so much for what they taught me about life in the 4 years spent there. I am South African through and through and want the Boks to win on Saturday but I would have loved a quarter final against the best possible Welsh team available to give the Welsh a fair go not only at the game but a possible title.

In saying this I think a Bok victory by about 12 points but a very tough first 60 minutes at Twickenham. Australia, All Blacks and Argentina will also book their semi-final spots this Saturday.

Bring it on!

Let you passion drive this team.

Stefan

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Match Report - South Africa vs USA (07 October 2015)

Stefan Terblanche 09/10/2015

Now that is Springbok rugby at its best……..at least for the 2nd half of the game against The USA. My prediction of a Bok victory by 23 points went well and truly out the window but I am o so happy to be wrong in this instance.

I think apart from the result of 64-0 and the biggest winning margin of Rugby World Cup 2015, not only for The Boks but for all teams to date, it was a much bigger victory in many other aspects of the game. I will tell you why shortly.

Firstly I would like to congratulate Bryan Habana on an outstanding try scoring record at Rugby World Cups. He is now tied in 1st place with another great, Jonah Lomu, on 15 tries apiece and like so many other South Africans and in particular Bok supporters we are all holding thumbs that he will break this impressive record in the next few weeks –who knows it might even be against The All Blacks, should these 2 rugby giants meet in a potential semi-final.

The Boks came through the game against The Eagles with flying colours. In the 1st half they had us all on the edge of our seats with a few drop passes and unforced errors but scored an unanswered 50 points in the 2nd half to register an impressive victory. What was significant in this game was the quick turnaround between the 2 test matches and the effect it had on the Bok players in the 1st half. It took them a whole 40 minutes to find their feet and to find the players next to them. I did make a prediction that this would be the case after a tough outing against The Scots 5 days earlier. What you have to commend the Boks on is the fact that they managed the1st half with it hiccups and then pulled away in the 2nd 40 minutes. That’s the sign of a mature and experienced team.

It was also very encouraging to see Willem Alberts back with some more much needed game time and it was even more pleasing to see that he was starting to run and cross the gain line like the Willem of old. This could only mean one thing come quarter finals………some very vary opposition players in the last quarter of the game with an angry “Dutchman” running with intent. I am a Dutchman myself so trust me, I know.

The Boks also had a clean bill of health after this game with the usual bumps and bruises but with no serious injury concerns. That’s always a worry at this stage of the tournament when you play against weaker teams. With 10 days before the next game Meyer and his management team should have a full squad to select a team from for the quarters. Meyer will have a very tough call to make in the next 7 days and will have to make sure that he selects the best possible team. I think the supporters are united in team selection and without being a rugby expert we have now seen and experienced the best team playing for The Boks at Rugby World Cup 2015.Meyer is incredibly loyal to his players but this is really a watershed moment for him as a national coach.

The team has shown what they can do, the nation stands united like never before and The Boks campaign is on a knife edge with a quarter final showdown against Wales or Australia looming large. Great players are showing great form and their form could not have come at a better time. Young enthusiastic players have shown their worth as far as energy and bringing excitement to the way The Boks want to play. The balance is good Heyneke and once again you have to trust these players like you have entrusted so many others before them.

The Boks played well against Scotland and played well again against The USA. It will count for nothing when taking the field next Saturday in the quarter finals other than some self believe and confidence. This team will be ready, I know but the biggest factor for will be the team selection of Heyneke Meyer and his management team in the next few days. I honestly believe that The Boks can go all the way in this campaign. Heyneke, please do the right thing and pick the best team, we trust that you will.

Let your passion drive this team.

Stefan.

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Pre-Match - South Africa vs USA (07 October 2015)

Stefan Terblanche 07/10/2015

What a quick turnaround between Springbok games and you have to feel for the professional players these days. Don’t get me wrong as they do get paid and trust me, very handsomely as well but 2 international games in 5 days... Eina! I am still struggling to recover and very tired from just watching the game from the stands and these BIG boys are almost ready to run into each other at breakneck speeds again? As spectators we often complain about too much rugby and rugby fatigue and yes I am one of those but I guess for a Rugby World Cup we can look past that and make an exception for once.

I had to giggle to myself while driving to the airport yet again this morning. Heyneke Meyer gave his reasons for picking such a strong team for the USA Eagles showdown and said that he can’t take any team lightly at this year’s tournament anymore. You are absolutely right Mr. Meyer and we have all seen this movie earlier in this year’s campaign. Lesson learnt!

I was rather surprised at Meyer’s team selection but upon thinking it through, I sort of get at what he is playing at. He selected a very similar team to the one that beat Scotland on Saturday with the pair of JP Pieterson and Jannie Du Plessis dropping out of the match day 23 because of injuries and slight niggles. The rest of the team is all the same and will have to put their bodies and minds through a lot in the next 36 hours. The Boks are only playing are so called tier 2 Nation but the preparation physically and mentally remains the same.

Initially, I thought that all the players yet to make an appearance at this year’s tournament would get a run and possibly their last one as well against The Eagles. Next week the knock out stages start and then you need your strongest possible team for hopefully 3 weekends in a row. With this selection Meyer underlined the importance of this game or maybe more so the importance of the loss to Japan in week 1.

You have to feel for some of the players yet to play and by this stage they must be getting tired of holding tackle bags during training sessions-I disagree and don’t necessarily think so. If it was any other tour yes but for a Rugby World Cup, I have no doubt that all the players buy into the bigger picture and scheme of things and will do anything just to be part of a Rugby World Cup winning team, even if it means holding bags for 7 weeks straight.

So why do I agree with Heyneke and his team selection and how will we do against America? When we beat the USA, the players will have 10 days to recover and to get their bodies back in shape before the Quarter Finals next weekend. This is another opportunity for the team to find one another and for some of the injured players coming back from injury to get that much needed game time and sharpness under their belts. We are fortunate that the likes of Fourie Du Preez and Duane Vermeulen found good form early but know that even so, their bodies will be pushed to their limits in the next few weeks. Another game tomorrow will be the perfect remedy followed by a couple of days rest and then a big preparation week before the Quarters to get them in the best possible test rugby shape.

I expect yet another solid Bok performance but maybe not a massive run- away victory. The game against The Scots and quick turnaround will show itself during this game and players will get more tired than usual. If Meyer plans it well he could use the bench to great effect and impact in the last 20 minutes and I am sure the staring team will be well aware of this. Let’s hope that they can lay the platform in the 1st hour of this crucial game.

Join me this Friday (9 October 2015) live on Twitter to discuss The Rugby World Cup 2015 between 2pm-4pm @Stefant15 and @JohnBoydSA Twitter handle.

Prediction: Boks to win by about 23 points!

Let your passion drive this team.

Stefan

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Match Report - South Africa vs Scotland (03 October 2015)

Stefan Terblanche 05/10/2015

I was fortunate in my rugby playing career to travel all over the world and to visit some incredible places. Throw in the opportunity to play on all the world famous rugby pitches and one can understand why rugby gave me so much and why I will be forever indebted to the sport. After playing rugby for so many years I could be forgiven for losing some interest in attending live matches and trying to take a break from it all Saturday after Saturday. Attending Saturday’s game in Newcastle rekindled that excitement of a live rugby game and I can now fully understand why spectators travel thousands of miles to attend these spectacles of sport.

St James Park was a very special place to be on Saturday and I enjoyed every single moment of the whole experience immensely. Off course the result helped to make it an even more memorable outing but from singing our national anthem to joining The Scots during Flower Of Scotland it was a near perfect rugby day out.

The Bok performance was good and we fully deserved to win by 18 points. The concern by some but mostly from the Bok management team of not having enough experienced players in the starting team, with the loss of De Villiers and Matfield was quickly swept under the carpet and some younger players performed like hardened career professionals.

I have to mention the performance of the lock pairing of Lood De Jager and Eben Etsebeth. As a former backline player I will never confess to know anything about forward play but goodness gracious me, those 2 youngsters we quite simply immense in all areas of the game. The way De Jager carried the ball and 3 Scottish defenders along with him across the gain line was something else. The way Etsebeth defended and carried Scottish attackers back across their gain line could be felt in the stands every time he made a tackle. I can quite honestly say that I have not seen a lock pairing performed so well together in a Bok game for a very long time, if ever.

In the backline the captain on the day, Fourie Du Preez took full control of the backs and brought this forwards pack well into the game. De Allende was his usual impressive self and well complimented by his partner in the midfield, Jessie Kriel. JP is finding his form on the wing again at the right time and together with Bryan Habana and Willie Le Roux they are now starting to perform well together as a back triangle to form our last line of defense and attack.

I said before the tournament that we have the players to win the Rugby World Cup 2015 but that we are not selecting the best players and therefore the best possible team. I strongly believe that Heyneke Meyer has now found his best team and that he continues to select this team or something very similar, we could go all the way to the final on the 31st of October at Twickenham.

I also said before the tournament that I am very concerned about the style of The Australian team and that the Wallabies be a dark horse at this year’s tournament. They have now shown why and the way in which they disposed of England on Saturday at Twickenham, knocking the host out of the tournament, certainly made the rugby public take notice and signaled their status as serious contenders. I can’t wait for this weekend’s showdown between Wales and Australia. Both teams have already qualified for the quarters but bear in mind that the winner of this game will avoid South Africa in the quarters and will more than likely play Scotland. That’s massive motivation for both teams and will be in the back of their minds for the whole 80 minutes.

So yes, it was worth the 7 flights and the 30 odd hours spent of the plane, eating cold airline food and sharing my seat with the big guy next to me. It was worth the odd lack of sleep and the expensive beer after the game- It was all worth it at the end!

Let you passion drive this team.

Stefan.

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Pre-Match - South Africa vs Scotland (03 October 2015)

Stefan Terblanche 02/10/2015

Good day to you all from a very mild and rather pleasant Newcastle in the North East of England. Considering where I find myself and autumn approaching fast in the Northern Hemisphere, I can only think that the rugby gods are shining down on us all and that they must be looking forward, like the rest of us, to tomorrow’s big game, Scotland against South Africa.

I am behaving a bit like a schoolboy on his way to his 1st live Springbok game but I think it’s wonderful that in this day and age with so many other distractions keeping us occupied that rugby still holds this power and aura.

Finally we have seen a Springbok team that most of the nation is happy with and that we all agree on. Unfortunately injury ruled out Victor Matfield and tour captain Jean De Villiers and you have to feel for these individuals. Between them they amassed over 230 test caps and it’s amazing to think that Springbok coach Rudolf Straueli fielded a team with only 234 caps –in the whole team – during The Rugby World Cup 20003. Just an interesting fact and this will give you a better understanding of what experience these 2 guys brought to this team.

In steps the youngsters and the current form players to really show that they can cement their positions in the starting 15 and that they can give all South Africans hope that our Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign is far from over. I always said that we have the players to win a record 3rd Rugby World Cup but the challenge would be in getting them all on the field at the same time. This team is as good as it gets and as close to getting team selection 100% spot on and for once I have to congratulate the management team –well done lads!

If we put my and I am sure your excitement aside for a moment and look at the game and the Scots we are facing we must understand that The Boks will be in for one hell of a game tomorrow. The Scots under the guidance of New Zealand coach, Vern Cotter has shown vast improvement. They have gone away from the traditional kick and charge game and have brought some unbelievable skill and flair to their backline play. In the pack of forwards they are incredibly competitive at the breakdown and with 2 former South Africans in WP Nel and former Lions captain, Josh Strauss they have developed a real hard nose approach to the game and will not stand back to be bullied by any team.

With the rugby gods shining down on us and the weather forecast perfect for rugby, I believe that we will see a very entertaining game of rugby. The Scots will try and play their running game, off-loading in the tackles and trying to keep the ball away from the big South African pack of forwards. They will unfortunately miss their game breaker Finn Russell through injury in the number 10 shirt. On the other side we will have the Bok team hoping to build on their solid and well- structured performance against Samoa. I believe that The Boks will not change a single aspect form the Samoa game plan and will again build their innings by keeping structure and wearing the opposition down through clever kicks, driving line outs and hard running forwards playing of Fourie Du Preez, the captain for this game.

I am very confident that The Boks will win and that they will win well tomorrow. I might be getting ahead of myself and I think we just need to keep the following in mind before opening the champagne. The Boks are still playing for survival and a loss could be the end of their campaign. Don’t forget the extra pressure this will bring to the individuals and team.

The game is taking place in Newcastle, just south of the Scottish border. We can expect a massive influx from the north and many a Scotsman at the game to support their team. They have a genuine believe that this could be their moment.

Follow us on Twitter and I will be posting some Tweets and pictures live from the game @StefanT15 and @JohnBoydSA Dunlop twitter handle.

Score Prediction: Boks to win by 15

Let your passion drive this team!

Stefan.

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