IF EVERYONE in the Springbok set up was completely honest in reading this season’s results, they would acknowledge that 2017 was not a big improvement.
TO coach Allister Coetzee and the players, this year might seem worth celebrating. After all, the Boks have won eight of their 13 matches this season and there is a big chance they may make it nine when they take on Wales at the Principality Stadium this Saturday.
For the Boks, this season will be measured against last year, when they won just four matches, losing eight and drawing one. While they may have doubled their wins this year, the fact that they won against weaker teams cannot be ignored.
They were hammered 57-0 by the All Blacks and then lost again to Steve Hansen’s men in Cape Town. When they met Australia, it became clearer that the improvements Coetzee always talks about are a mere illusion. And when they were hapless against Ireland, scoring just three points while watching the Irish score 38, Coetzee should have just accepted that wins against France, Italy and Wales would not change anything. After all, the Boks have been regressing against Wales, with the score between the two sides being evenly balanced of late.
Wales have won two of the last three meetings between them with the highest score being a 27-13 result at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff last year. There will always be pride at stake when the Boks are involved and what Siya Kolisi said about treating the Wales match like a cup final can be taken seriously.
The two sides will want to finish the year with a flourish, but this game is out of the international window and will not have any bearing on the disastrous second year for Coetzee. “We’re going to give it everything we have this weekend. It was tough to watch the game against Italy last week. That was a great performance, especially by the forwards and I would have loved to have been part of it. I’m fortunate to be back for this last game,” Kolisi, who missed the Italy match as he welcomed his second child to the world, said.
Bok forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot is pleased to have Kolisi back and will be hoping that the talented 26 year old will improve the Boks forwards domination that blew away the Azzurri last weekend.
“Siya’s got special skills. I’d rather have him play to those strengths than try to play like Flo or Duane (Vermeulen),” Proudfoot said. Coetzee will this afternoon name his team to face Wales in the final end of year tour clash.