Post-match Report: South Africa vs Italy
"5 points in the bag, job done and one foot and place in the quarter-finals of Rugby World Cup 2019 all but secured for the men in Green and Gold."
If The Boks lose to Canada on Tuesday, which we WON`T, we honestly don’t deserve to advance through the pool stages of rugby`s biggest showpiece at all- so yes we have qualified for the last 8 and it will be in 2nd position behind the All Blacks.
A lot`s been said about where The Boks will finish in the pool and if The Boks finished second it will be an easier route to the final. Let me tell you two things for certain and that’s the fact that no one has any clue as to who will finish first or second in Pool A and no one has a clue either, as to who out of Ireland, Scotland and the host nation Japan will even make it through to the quarter-finals.
This off course doesn’t help The Boks or The All Blacks who will face team 1 or 2 out of Pool A but hey I have said if before and I will say it again- you want to win The Rugby World Cup you have to beat whatever and whoever is in front of you on any given Saturday.
The Boks had a comfortable 14 points cushion when the referee, Mr Wayne Barnes who had an excellent game, blew the final whistle after just 47 minutes. Yes, you know that a rugby game is 80 minutes long but this game was over with just 47 minutes on the clock. I am of course referring to the red card issued to the Italian Number one or loose head, Andrea Lovotti. Again ,I have to congratulate the TMO and match officials who got it absolutely spot on according to the letter of the law and gave Lovotti his marching orders and by doing so declaring it-GAME OVER.
We often talk about red cards in test matches but I am sorry and I will always protect and stand up for the players but in this instance and incident, it was just plain and I quote Italian Coach, Connor O Shea “crash stupidity.” In all test matches we want to see a fair 15 vs 15 men contest but players also know the rules and at some stage must take responsibility for their actions.
I have no doubt that The Boks would have won even if Lovotti stayed on. The game started in the most bizarre fashion with uncontested scrums declared with less than 20minutes played on the clock. I do believe that with a strong Bok scrum and forward pack selected it played into the hands of The Italians but with 2 specialists tight heads injured the referee had no choice but to call for it.
Up until then The Boks did enough to win the game but still there are one or 2 players not hitting their straps. They have one more game against one of the weaker teams in the competition, Canada to rectify this and to make sure they firing on all cylinders come quarter finals time. I have to again mention the play and form of Cheslin Kolbe.
The little maestro is an absolute jewel on the rugby field and certainly put the naysayers about “too small” once and for all to bed. He was lethal on attack scoring 2 tries and defended every time he made a tackle, like his life depended on it.
Italian Mission accomplished, lets have some fun against Canada and go into the quarters brimming with confidence.