With the 2019 Rugby World Cup only days away, we look back at the last 5 years and see how the Springboks went full circle and worked their way to Japan as one of the favorites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a possible third time. Join Irfaan Adam as he takes us on this rollercoaster ride…
2015 – Brighton, 47 miles South of London, a sleepy seaside town that’s a popular destination for tourists, renowned for its diverse communities, quirky shopping areas, large cultural, music and arts scene. Few though would’ve imagined what part in history the city will play for the world of rugby on one autumn afternoon in 2015…
Two-time World Champions, the Springboks were in town, to kick off their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign against minnows Japan under the guidance of Coach, Heyneke Meyer.
In true David vs. Goliath fashion, the Brave Blossoms punched above their weight. Dispelling reputation and repertoire – Japan had slayed the behemoth as Eddie Jones and his boys produced the greatest upset in Rugby World Cup history.
Needing a response, the Boks took the proverbial bull by the horns, Samoa was swatted aside, Scotland easily beaten and the USA had 64 unanswered points scored against them.
Top spot in the Pool secured the Springboks a quarter final showdown against Wales. In a meeting as tight as they come, the Dragons hit first with a try by Gareth Davies. However the boot of Handré Pollard kept things in check and the Boks in control. With 5 minutes remaining, star scrumhalf Fourie du Preez secured the Boks their progression into the semi-finals.
Suddenly they were 2 games away from glory but lying in wait were old foes and defending Champions, New Zealand. Twickenham lay and wait along with another nail-biter. Pollard’s laser like accuracy from the kicking tee kept the Boks in the hunt, but ultimately tries by Jerome Kaino and Beauden Barret proved pivotal, the Green & Gold’s losing 20 – 18.
Their campaign was over and with it too, Coach Meyer’s much talked about tenure at the top. The Boks though had salvaged some pride.
The story continues tomorrow so please share this and join us on Tuesday for part 2 as we follow the road to Japan with the Springboks.