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The Start to the Rugby World Cup Campaign

Monday, 23 September 2019
Stefan Terblanche
The Start to the Rugby World Cup Campaign

"It wasn’t the best start to the Rugby World Cup campaign and dreams and hopes for The Bok team and the South African rugby public in general. "

It wasn’t the best start to the Rugby World Cup campaign and dreams and hopes for The Bok team and the South African rugby public in general. History and historical facts will now have to be made and rewritten for The Bok team to go on and win The William Webb Ellis Trophy. The one fact and significant bit of history I am referring to is the fact that NO team in the history of the 32 -year old Rugby World Cup competition has ever gone on to win the Cup after losing a pool game. England reached the finals twice, in 1991 and 2007 after losing a pool game but lost in the final to Australia and South Africa respectively.

The Boks started really well and had territorial and possessional advantage in the first 20 minutes. Unfortunately they only had 3 points to show for it and a very easy kick ( if such a thing in test rugby) from Pollard hit the upright and within a couple of minutes the All Blacks had a breakaway, Mapimpi made a try saving tackle , conceded the penalty in the tackle for not releasing and the All Blacks were on the score board. After that it was really one- way traffic till halftime and the All Blacks had the 17-3 lead to show for it.

The All Blacks are just one of those teams who can be absolutely nowhere during a game with regards to territory and possession but they find a way of keeping in touch. They play exceptionally well on turnovers have great skill and awareness of space, make good decisions and can score tries from anywhere on the field-they did just that yesterday again. That’s why they are the only team in the world to have won the World Cup three times and won back to back trophies in 2011 and 2015. If we have any doubt about their ability and credentials as serious Rugby World Cup contenders, think again!

Where to for The Boks after a defeat in a game that promised so much in the build up not only this year but ever since the draw was done months back?

The Boks had their opportunities and that’s the encouraging part. The game plan, well is their game plan and not one of us can change it and make them change it, whether we agree with it or not. Game plan is one thing but the most important is the execution thereof. Even when a poor game plan is executed correctly and with believe and conviction it can be effective.

The Boks will have to make history in the next 6 weeks to have any chance of winning the Cup. Many would say that losing will give them an easier route to the final but I don’t agree at all and I`m saying that without even looking at the possible opposition they might face in the next few weeks. Rugby is a sport of confidence for individuals and ultimately the team. You don’t want to lose any games during a tournament as its just breaks your rhythm and confidence. I will rather win all the games in the pool stages and beat whoever I need to beat to lift the Cup come the 2nd of November-most teams and coaches would agree with this.

That said and done I have had a great weekend watching the opening round of games and I am sure we will see and experience some more wonderful rugby and a few upsets along the way.


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