Pre-Match - South Africa vs USA (07 October 2015)
"Score Prediction: Boks to win by about 23 points!"
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.