With only 1 day left before the Springboks get their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign underway, we join Irfaan Adam one last time as he takes us through the last 5 years of highs and lows as the Green & Gold got themselves in contention to possibly lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time.
2019 – Now just months away from the World Cup in Japan, it was go-time in 2019. Focus and determination was the premise and with just 5 games before the start of the rugby showpiece, there was little motivation needed.
With no June incoming Test series, as it being a Rugby World Cup year, a shortened Rugby Championship kicked off with a clash against the Wallabies in Johannesburg. Cool, calm, collected but most importantly, clinical, the Boks eased to victory with what was said to be Rassie’s “B-team”.
The build up to the Test against the All Blacks was all about revenge from the home team’s camp, so much so that the match, which was scheduled originally for Albany was returned to Wellington for the men in black to settle the score from 12 month earlier. And while Erasmus and his troops would’ve been cautious, their landmarks win in 2018 boosted the Boks’ confidence. It was another Test match for the ages but after a pulsating 80 minutes, neither team could be separated and the average score remained zero heading to Japan where they will finally meet in the opening match of their campaigns.
Ever since the expansion of the tournament, the Boks had never before lifted the Castle Rugby Championship title, so when the Wallabies had earlier slain the All Blacks in the final round of this year’s competition, the Boks tackled Argentina knowing they could finally end their drought.
In a bruising encounter in Salta, Los Pumas were blown away. Pollard was a class apart and in the end, victory was secured and South African’s finally believed in the Boks going beyond the pool stages of Rugby World Cup 2019.
With the global showpiece now just 2 games away, the Boks again beat Argentina, scraping a narrow win with a shoestring team to maintain their 2019 unbeaten record.
It was time for Erasmus to select his 31-man squad to lay siege on the Web Ellis Cup as they embarked on their journey to Japan.
However, there was still one more game to be played as 4 years on from the bout in Brighton – the Springboks renewed acquaintances with the 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts.
Things though could not have been more different, Makazole Mapimpi was the star of the show with a hat trick as the Boks revenge was sweet and the proverbial monkey on their backs were gone.
After the darkest day in Springbok history, the Green and Gold have come full circle. 4 years on and South Africa are ready for greatness!
Are YOU ready to join them?