It’s a night of high emotion, and here […]
It seems churlish to reduce a Rugby World Cup result of this magnitude to the binary style of ratings that this blog is famous for, but we stand by our system as an all-conditions rating, even conditions as historic as this. Plus, it's what we're famous for, so suck it up.
Springbok gameplan – Traditional as it might be for the Boks to pull it in tight when they find themselves in dangerous water; such a negative plan with the playing resources they have is cowardly and it received exactly the treatment it deserved. Make no mistake, Japan went out and won this is spite of a blatant attempt to stymie their efforts to play a proper game of rugby.
Pat Lambie – South Africa did not have a good day and much of the responsibility must lie with the out-half who wobbled more than a dieting prop near a burger van. Kicking for territory was awful and his marshalling of possession inspired less confidence than an armless trapeze artist.
The Boks enter the tournament off the back of an awful Rugbyampionship, losing against Argentina and generally looking terrible for large swathes of matches. Heynecke Mayer has a lot to deal with in his job; race issues being bombarded from political figures inside and outside the game, an ageing squad and in Pat Lambie and Hanre Pollard two fly halves that often have all the composure of a two legged barstool. But, he also has the likes of Willie Le Roux, Eben Etsebeth and arguably the most exciting centre in world rugby in young Jessie Kriel.
Will top the group only to then face England or Australia come the last eight. Could realistically be going home at that stage. However, their traditional ability to keep it very tight and smash people into submission could serve them well as the English autumn weather begins to bite in the latter stages.
Key Player – Whoever plays scrum-half, be it Ruan Pienaar or Fourie Du Preez will need to play a large part in composing whoever plays 10.
Headline on Exit – "Mayer The Force Be With You"
Traditionally, many people would talk about how much natural ability Samoa have and then pat them on the head and say how they have a lack of know-how to do well, poor things; it's what's commonly known as the African Football Condescension Lecture. However this is very much not the case any longer, as the Samoans have a glut of players in the top divisions of the to leagues allied to their formidable physical presence, and perhaps most importantly there is now a relationship agreement signed between the players and their union, so the the issues that have haunted previous campaigns won't be in the way.