Editorial comment – When giants fall

Springbok utility back Kurt-Lee Arendse has been suspended for four matches after he received a red card in his team’s 26-10 win over the All Blacks in Nelspruit. Picture: https://rugby365.com/

After winger Kurt-Lee Arendse scored his first international try, he was red carded as South Africa thumped the New Zealand All Blacks with a comfortable 26-10 victory in their Rugby Championship opener at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.

It was the story of the night, at least the part about tries that is. The Springboks were more dominant than the scoreline suggested.

It looked like they based their game around the set-pieces and the breakdowns. It does come as a shocker for All Blacks fans who have long seen a dominance in these crucial areas of the game, especially the breakdowns.

You’ve got to reflect on the era of exciting backrowers the likes of Michael Jones, Buck Shelford, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Zinzan Brooke, Jerry Collins and Jerome Kaino to name a few to understand why fans have long admired the black machine

. It was the biggest win by the Springboks against the All Blacks since 1928.

It was the All Blacks’ fifth defeat in their last six Tests. It is expected to put pressure on All Blacks’ coach Ian Foster. “It was a grind, exactly what we wanted. We wanted to match them up front,” Sprinboks’ captain Siya Kolisi said.

The All Blacks simply made too many unforced errors and will now have to lift their game for the second Rugby Championship match-up at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on August 13.

On the other side of the divide, the Australian Wallabies made an impressive comeback to defeat Argentina 41-26 in Mendoza.

That was the story of international rugby. It is quite difficult to comprehend the fact that the Kiwis have actually lost consecutive Tests and the Wallabies appear to be on the roll.

Then there are the Irish who came off with those blinders against the All Blacks.

On the homefront, we are reminded about international rugby, and how the dice can fall. We are also reminded about the fact that even the best in the world can crumble.

It does raise the issue of how well we are prepared to take on the world at the Rugby World Cup in France in September 2023. Key here is preparation.

The level of knowledge we pack is supposed to rival the world’s best.

For instance our scrums coach Jason Ryan, the Crusaders forwards coach, has been taken by the All Blacks as their new assistant coach with an eye to the RWC 2023. So it makes sense then that we have the calibre of players to make things happen.

The challenge though is getting everything right, and having the desire to want positive results and heading in with the right frame of mind.

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