When the going gets tough – the ‘Boks get going!

When the going gets tough – the ‘Boks get going!

By Andile Dladla & Mandla Dladla

It is now or never for the Springboks who line-up against the Wallabies in Adelaide on Saturday after narrowly losing to the All Blacks at Emirates Airline Stadium in Johannesburg last week and thus failing to record a third successive victory over New Zealand in the castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The previous week, the ‘Boks displayed a bit of their old swashbuckling style as they vanquished New Zealand in Mbombela and after raising the hopes of the entire nation, everybody thought it would be a walk in the park.

However, at the Emirates Airline stadium, venue of their most dramatic victories in the past, the Springboks found themselves holding s tiger by the tail, surprisingly trailing 15-0 as the technical team’s plans went completely pear shaped after everyone had expected them to come out guns blazing.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber tweaked the team here and there and instructed them to go for broke, but after appearing to turn the tables and leading 23-21 with twelve minutes remaining as spectators cheered them wildly on, the ‘Boks capitulated and ended up losing 35-23.

“We were not as accurate as we were the previous week in Mbombela,” said Nienaber. “And they kept off loading and taking high risks which we didn’t contain that well,” he added.

“I thought we did well to come back from 15-0 down against the All Blacks who are a tough act but to get back and even lead showed character, something we managed to produce in the back end of the first half and up to the 73rd minute. And then we slipped at the back end.”

The Springboks scored tries through Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am while Handre Pollard had a second successive perfect weekend with five out of five successful kicks at goal for 13 points.

Nevertheless, the All Blacks’ ability to usually start strong start and finish equally strong – scoring a brace of tries in each half in the space of no more than six minutes – gave them a famous victory.

The Springboks created several try-scoring opportunities without reward and had to overcome the loss to concussion of wing Jesse Kriel in the opening minutes. That placed pressure on the bench with its 6-2 split between forwards and backs.

“We were over the try-line three times but we got zero points for that and rightly so,” said Nienaber.

“But we created the opportunities – just sometimes it goes for you and you score those tries. There were nice opportunities but sometimes it goes against you. The 6-2 bench split sometimes works for you and sometimes against you

“We would have loved to gain momentum with a win, but we can’t let our heads drop for long,” said Springbok Captain Siya Kolisi ahead of Saturday is provide a defining moment against the All Blacks in Adelaide.

“There are still four more games to go but we have missed a great opportunity,” continued Kolisi. New Zealand played really well last week and they controlled the game more. We fought back really well in the second but we slipped up in one moment. We just went to sleep and that’s what they can do to you when that happens.”

Saturday offers the Springbok redemption away from home and it is up to Kolisi and the team to show South Africans that when the going gets tough, the ‘Boks get going!

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