David Rush, South Coast Herald.
IT’S amazing what a week in sport can do. Or how things can change.
After the Japanese game, some fans suggested the current Golden Lions team playing so well in the Currie Cup should be sent over.
Others wanted any other coach back at the helm. Just not Heyneke Meyer.
But now after the bruising win against Samoa, which the Boks won 46-6, there is a feeling of calm.
However, the doubt should start to set in again by the weekend. And well it should.
There’s no time for complacency, especially not against a passionate Scottish team that put the nippy Japanese back in their place.
If the score lines are anything to go by, the Boks should lose by a huge margin to the Scots. But you know that isn’t going to happen. Of course not.
Okay, so the win was a good thing. Not a thing of beauty, but effective nonetheless.
What made the weekend all the more interesting in terms of the knockout stages is that England lost to Wales. That was not supposed to happen. Especially with the Welsh change-room looking more like a battlefield, with numerous injuries.
If Wales can sneak in ahead of England, and South Africa win their last two games with bonus points and top the pool, then there is a reasonable chance South Africa will play Wales in the quarter-finals.
That prospect is a whole lot more appealing than taking on England at home, or nemesis Australia. Of course, it will mean a potential semi-final clash against New Zealand, but they’ll have to get past either France or Ireland, two teams that don’t fear them.
The upsets have made the tournament interesting. Let’s hope the Boks can stay in it for as long as possible.
The only negative (some may see it as a positive) is that Jean de Villiers is out of the event with a broken jaw. His 34-year-old body has always been injury prone, and this was another cruel blow for the captain. On the bright side, it means that Jesse Kriel should start alongside Damian de Allende. Now that will be exciting to watch.