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Match Report - South Africa vs Japan (19 September 2015)

Monday, 21 September 2015
Stefan Terblanche

"I know it is only a game but when The Springboks lose we can easily go into a mild state of depression"

So, from writing the easiest of columns on Friday with the opening of RWC 2015 a few hours away and The Boks certain to win their opening fixture in Brighton against The Japanese to writing this one. It just goes to show that you are only as good as your last game and what a BIG difference a weekend or one game can make to your outlook on life and general wellbeing. I know it is only a game but when The Springboks lose we can easily go into a mild state of depression especially when they do so against a team full of players most of us have never heard of and who’s surnames we can hardly pronounce.

Well played Japan and you fully deserved your victory as you dominated The Springboks in all facets of play.

It was significant result for 2 very different reasons and for 2 very different teams. For Japan it was a significant win. It was their 1st ever win against The Springbok and only their 2nd ever win in a Rugby World Cup. I think we all saw from the visuals coming live from Brighton not only what it meant to this team, management and players alike but also what it meant to their supporters in the stands with tears of joy flowing freely. This will be a significant boost to rugby in their country and will give it a much needed lift in the build up to Japan hosting the next Rugby World Cup in 2019.

For South Africa and for The Springboks it was a significant loss. For The Boks to lose this game in this fashion they did it only means disaster not only for test matches in years to come but in particular for this tournament. The Springboks and the All Blacks have been the 2 most feared rugby teams in the world for many years. The All Blacks for the haka, their skill of forwards and backs and for the speed they play the game at while The Boks are feared for their big physical hard running players. Trust me I have played rugby overseas in teams full of players from all over and they respect and at times fear taking the field against either The All Blacks or Springboks.

On Saturday the Boks not only lost the game but also lost that small psychological edge we might have had when taking the field and wearing the famous Green and Gold. Remember that the difference between winning and losing at international level is a fraction of a percentage. You need all the help you can get and if the jersey that you are wearing gives you that, you will gladly accept.

With time up on the clock on Saturday, the score at 22-19 to the Boks and with 14 men on the field the Japanese had a penalty right in front of the uprights and could have easily have drawn the game to cause a major upset against The Boks. They turned down the penalty, took the scrum and got their reward with a try in the 83rd minute of play. This should never ever happen when any team play The Boks, not even the mighty All Blacks.

The Boks lost that edge on Saturday and teams will duly take notice and accept it with open hands. The 2-4% edge we had before taken the field is now gone and it will take a mammoth effort for this team to lift the William Web Ellis Trophy on the 31st of October. No team has ever lost a pool game and then gone on to win The Cup. If we do so this team would have made history twice in one tournament. Stranger things have happened on the rugby field.

Let your passion drive this team.
Stefan.

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