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Springboks Go Full Circle – Part 3

With only 3 days to go to the Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign; we continue our look back at the last 5 years on how they worked their way to Japan as one of the possibilities to lift the Cup for a possible third time. Irfaan Adam takes us on this journey and you’re invited…

2017 – After the nightmare that was 2016 for Allister Coetzee and his Springboks, the new year came along with a promise of an improvement. A first assignment against France provided Coetzee with an opportunity and buoyed on by a new look team, the Boks made an early statement of intent.

On their first tour to South Africa since 2010 – Les Bleus were blown away, with the Boks a class apart in the 3 Test match series.

That allowed them to head to the Rugby Championship with a renewed sense of vigor. A first round clash pitted them against Argentina yet again and in a clinical performance, they ran out winners by 37 points to 15.

The following week though brought about arguably their best showing under Coetzee. In hostile conditions, Los Pumas were blown away on a balmy Saturday in Salta. Propelled by a double from Siya Kolisi, the home team was properly dismissed and hope returned to South Africa…

But after a 23-all draw with the Wallabies in Perth, disaster struck in Albany.  Nehe Milner-Skudder scored two of the All Blacks’ eight tries as they destroyed the Boks with the biggest record margin to date between these two sides.

They posted 50 points for the second successive Test against their traditional rivals, as doom and gloom again surrounded the Boks and supporters losing hope yet again…

What followed was a period of introspection – tough questions were asked and answered but most importantly a rallying call was issued.

A 27-all draw against the Wallabies was a marked improvement, but in their Rugby Championship finale against the All Blacks in Cape Town, the nation applauded. Despite conceding 50 points in their last 2 encounters, the Boks delivered a rugged display. Malcolm Marx was irrepressible and despite going down on the day, the signs were certainly positive with All Black Coach also applauding the Boks’ efforts.

With a wave of optimism, they headed to Europe for the end of year tour only to be hit with more questions. Against Ireland in their first game they were hammered by 38 points to 3 – Ireland’s largest winning margin over the Springboks.

A slender 1 point win as well as a revenge-earning victory over France and Italy respectively somewhat eased the tension, but going down to Wales yet again saw the pressure reach boiling point and that loss ultimately proved to be Coetzee’s final Test in charge of the Springboks.

Time was now running out as the halfway mark had already been passed to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan where the Boks by now had been drawn alongside New Zealand in Pool B after falling to 6th in World Rugby rankings and not much hope was given to them reaching the knockout stages.

We hope you are enjoying this with us and will return again tomorrow as the story continues…

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