Post-match report: South Africa vs Namibia
"Playing Namibia is just one of those games that you can`t really win and I am not talking about the result."
With only 900 registered rugby players in Namibia compared to over 600 000 in South Africa and who knows how many more playing abroad, it should never have been a contest at all. You win the game by 50 or 60 points and supporters and fans agree with my opening statement and if you don’t you just take flack and criticism for not playing and winning better.
If we look at the game we could say and I think agree that we did enough to win and win reasonably well. At one stage early in the 2nd half I honestly thought that The Boks are going to put 80 points passed our neighbours but I guess all the changes, bringing on the whole bench slowed The Boks momentum down , broke their rhythm and forced some errors, typical of the scenario with players coming in and off the bench. We got the bonus point and come the end of the pool stages after 2 more games against Italy and Canada hardly anyone will even remember the score..
Schalk Brits played out of position at eighth man for The Boks and even though I am no supporter and fan of playing any player out of position, let alone at a Rugby World Cup you have to stop and look past that and take into consideration what talented rugby player he really is. Not only did he lead the team but at his age one just have to smile and say well done to the man, not only for his playing ability but also for the manner in which he plays the game-always with a smile on his face even after a punch up with Akker a few months ago.
Rugby is game with some written and some unwritten rules and traditions. Often during the modern and professional games players and even administrators often neglect some of these. Rugby at professional level is very result driven and YES, we have to agree that most fans, sponsors and supporters like to follow and support a winning team.
The point I`m trying to make is that characters and “older” players like Schalk is a rarity but a crucial necessity to pass on these older traditions to a younger professional player. I think Schalk is just the guy to do that and very much like a Bob Skinstad during the successful 2007 campaign in France – every team needs one.
The Bok coach, Rassie Erasmus made plenty of changes for the Namibia game and rightly so. He also welcomed to the team Thomas du Toit, after the tournament ending injury to Trevor Nyankane and wasted no time by sticking him on the bench and giving him a good 25 minutes off the bench to blast out the cobwebs and lack of game time from no rugby in the last 3 weeks.
The Boks are still on target to reach the Quarters and the Irish who we assumed would be their opposition slipped up against Japan, the host nation throwing their pool wide open. The Boks can now face one of three teams, Ireland, Scotland or Japan come Quarter final time. We will still finish second in our pool behind the All Blacks.
All on target for at least 3 more games for now!